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Full text of "The essays; or,Counsels, civil and moral. Edited with introd. and illustrative notes by Samuel Harvey Reynolds"

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s/ I. OF TRUTHV/ .- . . 


Illustrations ...... 


>J II. OF DEATH . . . . . .; ... 




\l III. OF UNITY IN RELIGION . . 4 . \. 

. . 19 





. Illustrations ...... 







. . 40 

Illustrations ...... 



. . 48 




'. 51 

Illustrations ...... 



. . 56 

Illustrations . . ' . . 


- 'Kyi- OF LOVE . . . . . ... 


Illustrations ...... 



. - 72 

Illustrations ...... 



. .' 3i 




. 85 





* XIV. 

OF NOBILITY ........ 




. XV. 

Illustrations ....... 



OF ATHEISM . . . . . . . 


. XVII. 




_ ,,/XIX. 





. XX. 



y XXI. 

OF DELAYS . . . . . . . . 


^ J 


OF CUNNING ........ 

. I 5 8 

^ , XXIII. 

OF WISDOM FOR A MAN'S SELF , ... - ."-- 
Illustrations ....... 

. I6 7 






OF DISPATCH . . ... 
Illustrations .- 



Illustrations . 


jf> XXVII. 




Illustrations ....... 



** xxix. 

Illustrations ....... 



Illustrations . . . 





OF DISCOURSE . , . . . . . 
Illustrations ....... 

- 2 33 










OF RICHES ....... 


Illustrations . . . . 

Illustrations . . . ... 

OF AMBITION . . . .... 
Illustrations ....... 


. 251 




. 268 

Illustrations . . . J, -.- 












Illustrations . . . . 







OF BEAUTY ......... 



OF DEFORMITY . . . . ....'-., 

. 308 




. 318 





OF NEGOTIATING . . ...... 
Illustrations ....... 


'i^V- JI 



w L - 

- LI. 
* LIII. 





Illustrations . . . . 











_ LIV. 



Illustrations ....... 






Illustrations . 


rt^- v LVI. 



- 365 


Illustrations . . . * * . . 


^ LVII. 

OF ANGER . . . , 4 * 




- 381 



. 382 

Illustrations . . . 





THIS edition of the Essays was undertaken by me at 
the suggestion of Mr. J. R. Thursfield, who had put 
together materials for notes on the first twenty-three 
Essays, but was unable, in the stress of other literary 
engagements, to carry out his design. Mr. Thursfield's 
name is sufficient warrant for what the completed edition 
would have been in his hands. His design, as I under 
stand it, was to prepare an edition for the use of scholars 
and advanced students, and especially to show from 
contemporary translations the sense in which doubtful 
passages had been understood in Bacon's own day. 
These points I have kept in mind. But the line followed 
in Mr. Thursfield's manuscript notes was not in many 
ways the same as that which I have taken. He entered 
much more fully than I have done into the history and 
derivation of words, and into grammatical and philological 
disquisitions. This is a line of research for which I have 
no taste, and which I could not have pursued with any 
pleasure. It has, moreover, been rendered practically 
superfluous by the publication of the ' English Dictionary.' 
This was not and could not have been anticipated by 
Mr. Thursfield when he began collecting materials for 
his notes. 

It is, in any case, seldom possible to use another man's 
materials, or to adapt oneself to another man's design. 
I have consequently found myself compelled to do the 


whole work of this edition for myself, and to take the 
entire responsibility for it. It has called chiefly for the 
exercise of a patient drudging accuracy. It is at last 
finished. It has been harder work, and has taken more 
time, than I expected when I first took it in hand. 

The references in the Notes and Illustrations, where 
they are not specified, are to the following editions : 

BACON : Letters and Life, edited by SPEDDING AND ELLIS. 
7 vols. 1862-74. 

Works, edited by ELLIS AND SPEDDING. 7 vols. 

l8 57-59- 
BODIN : Commonweal. Knolles' Trans. 

EDMUNDES : Observations upon Caesar's Commentaries. London, 

ERASMUS: Adagia. Basle, 1551. 

Apophthegmata. Paris, 1533. 

French, i.e. French version of Essays, by SIR ARTHUR GORGES, 

GUICCIARDINI : London, 1821, in 10 vols. 
HAKLUYT : Voyages. 5 vols. London, 1809-12. 
HOOKER : Keble's ed. 1836. 

Italian, i.e. Italian version of Essays, edited by MR. TOBYE 
MATTHEW, 1618. 

JAMES : Works of the most high and mighty prince James. By 
the Bishop of Winchester. 1616, fol. 

KNOLLES: History of the Turks. 5th ed. 1638. 

MONTAIGNE : Paris, 1802. 4 vols. 

PARKINSON : Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris, $c. 1656, fol. 

Patristic references. These are to MIGNE'S Patrologiae cursus 

PEUCER : De Divinatione ex Somniis. 1607, 8vo. 
PINKERTON : Voyages. 1808-14, in 17 vols. 
PLINY, N. H. : Philemon Holland's Trans. 
PLUTARCH : Lives. North's Trans. 1603. 

Morals. Holland's Trans. 1657. 
SENECA : Lipsius. 4th. ed. 1652, fol. 
WILSON: Arte of Rhetorique, $c. 1584, 4to. 


OF all Bacon's writings his Essays have been the most widely 
read. They have been, in the best sense of the word, popular. 
His most famous work, the Novum Organum, has been accepted 
on the verdict of the few ; for one student who has attempted it, 
there have been scores and scores who have read and re-read 
the Essays. 'Of all my other works,' says Bacon himself, 'they 
have been the most current ; ' and this, which was said only of 
the earlier and shorter editions, could be said of them more 
truly than ever in their final and finished form. 

Bacon's scope and object in his Essays, the kind of success 
he was aiming at, and the standard by which he wished to be 
judged, may be gathered from his own words. He terms his 
volume 'certain brief notes, set down rather significantly than 
curiously, which I have called Essays.' ' The word is late, but 
the thing is ancient. For Seneca's Epistles to Lucilius, if one 
mark them well, are but Essays, that is, dispersed meditations, 
though conveyed in the form of epistles.' His own Essays are 
to be 'grains of salt which will rather give an appetite than 
offend with satiety.* 'They handle those things . . . whereof 
a man shall find much in experience but little in books V This 
is a more fit description of the earlier editions of the Essays than 
of the latest, but it is in a way applicable to all of them. The 
earlier had been well received, because 'they came home to 
men's business and bosoms,' and this is the claim made for the 

1 Letters and Life, iv. 340. 


latest. These had more literary art, more curiosity of work 
manship, but the general significance was the same. Their 
notes were less brief, but not less stimulating, not less careful 
to avoid offending with satiety. The word, says Bacon, is late 
Montaigne's Essays had appeared in 1580. The thing is 
ancient Seneca had written Essays in fact though not in name. 
There is some art displayed in the suggestion of these two 
names. Dispersed meditations they had both written, but little 
or nothing that could pass as ' grains of salt, which will rather 
give an appetite than offend with satiety.' ' Much in experience 
but little in books,' might stand true for some parts of Mon 
taigne's Essays. With Seneca's Epistles the exact opposite is the 
case. Much of them will be found in books, but very little in 
experience. It is probable that Bacon had no very high opinion 
of either writer, and that he had no doubt that the points which 
he was claiming for himself, were just those in which his readers 
must have found Seneca and Montaigne most signally wanting. 
But in the style and manner of the Essays there is a further 
implied promise. The Latin title is explicit ' sermones fideles 
sive interiora rerum ' the insides of things, by way of contrast 
to the outside shows and pretences with which men had pre- 
r viously been put off. The writer poses as one who has authority 
\ to speak ; as one who has been behind the scenes in the great 
j theatre of the world, and who now comes forward to give others 
j the result of his experience, to tell them the motives from which 
/ men commonly act, and the kind of conduct which may be ex 
pected from them, and to lay down rules and cautions which 
may help them to play their part safely and suitably in the 
perplexed game of life. It is not only that he has held a great 
place and has been occupied in great affairs. More impressive 
is the manner in which he has recorded his experience and the 
position which he thus asserts for himself. His language in his 
best passages has a singular majesty and force. His weighty 
sentences give what appears like the condensed thought of a 
lifetime set down in most fit and telling words. They are 
uttered with an air of authority, and bear the stamp of a man 
who has a right so to speak. It is the language of a superior 



being, who condescends to occupy his leisure moments with the 
concerns of a lower race, and to impart truths which his unin- 
structed readers could never have discovered for themselves. 

Three different editions of the Essays in English were pub 
lished during Bacon's lifetime and with his sanction. The first, 
the edition of 1597, dedicated to his brother, Anthony Bacon, 
contained ten Essays : 

1. Of Study. 

2. Of Discourse. 

3. Of Ceremonies and Re 


4. Of Followers and Friends. 

5. Of Suitors. 

6. Of Expence. 

7. Of Regiment of Health. 

8. Of Honour and Reputa 


9. Of Faction. 

10. Of Negociating. 

Two other distinct treatises were bound up with them, the 
Meditationes Sacrae in Latin, and the Colours of Good and 
Evil. The book was re-published in 1598, with the Medita 
tiones Sacrae in English, but otherwise without change. The 
next edition, in 1612, contained thirty-eight Essays, twenty-nine 
of them new, and nine from the former edition, the Essay of 
Honour and Reputation being left out. The table of contents 
gives the titles of forty Essays : 

1. Of Religion. 14. Of Atheism. 

2. Of Death. 15. Of Superstition. 

3. Of Goodness and Good- 16. Of Wisdom for a 

ness of Nature. 

4. Of Cunning. 

5. Of Marriage and Single 


6. Of Parents and Children. 

7. Of Nobility. 

8. Of Great Place. 

9. Of Empire. 

10. Of Counsel. 

11. Of Dispatch. 

12. Of Love. 

13. Of Friendship. 


17. Of Regiment of Health. 

18. OfExpences. 

19. Of Discourse. 

20. Of Seeming Wise. 

21. Of Riches. 

22. Of Ambition. 

23. Of Young Men and Age. 

24. Of Beauty. 

25. Of Deformity. 

26. Of Nature in Men. 

27. Of Custom and Education. 


28. Of Fortune. 34. Of Faction. 

29. Of Studies. 35. Of Praise. 

30. Of Ceremonies and Re- 36. Of Judicature. 

spects. 37. Of Vain Glory. 

31. Of Suitors. 38. Of Greatness of Kingdoms, 

32. Of Followers. 39. Of the Public. 

33. Of Negociating. 40. Of War and Peace. 

But Essay 38 falls so naturally into three distinct parts, corre 
sponding to the last three titles, that there is no real difference 
between the table and the actual contents. 

It was Bacon's intention to dedicate this edition to Prince 
Henry, but the Prince died before it was published, and it was 
dedicated to Bacon's brother-in-law, Sir John Constable. 

The third edition, that of 1625, contained fifty-eight Essays, 
viz. the thirty-eight with the same titles as in the edition of 
1612, the Essay of Honour and Reputation omitted in that 
edition, and nineteen new Essays : 

i. Of Truth. 24. Of Innovations. 

4. Of Revenge. 31. Of Suspicion. 

5. Of Adversity. 33. Of Plantations. 

6. Of Simulation and Dis- 35. Of Prophecies. 

simulation. 37. Of Masks and Triumphs. 

9. Of Envy. 41. Of Usury. 

12. Of Boldness. 45. Of Building. 

15. Of Seditions and Troubles. 46. Of Gardens. 

18. Of Travel. 57. Of Anger. 

21. Of Delays. 58. Of Vicissitude of Things. 

The Essays in this edition are, in Bacon's own words, ' enlarged 
both in number and weight, so that they are indeed a new work.' 
The dedication is to the Duke of Buckingham. 

Besides these three editions, Mr. Arber, in his Harmony 
of the Essays, gives the contents of a manuscript (Harleian 
MS. 5106) with interlineations in, as he thinks, Bacon's own 
hand. Its date is fixed approximately by the title-page, which 
describes Bacon as the King's Solicitor-General. This he 
became in 1607 ; and he was raised to be Attorney- General 


in 1613. The manuscript contains thirty-six Essays. It omits 
six found in the edition of 1612, and adds two, viz. Of Honour 
and Reputation, which had appeared in 1597, and Of Seditions 
and Troubles, which was not published in English before 1625. 
The manuscript is interesting, but otherwise worthless or nearly 
so, since as far as its contents differ from those of the edition of 
1612, they must be taken to represent Bacon's rejections and 
not his choice. 

Of the various copies of the edition of 1625, hardly any two 
agree in every particular. The variations, unimportant for the 
most part, are due to corrections and changes having been 
made during the progress of the book through the press. This, 
as Dean Church remarks, in his Preface to the first book of the 
Ecclesiastical Polity, was the common practice of the time. 
When the printing was done, the different sheets were bound 
up indiscriminately, and the purchasers were thus left free 
to dispute over the authority of their several varying copies. 
The text followed in the present edition is that of the volume 
presented by Bacon to the Duke of Buckingham, to whom the 
book is dedicated. It is likely that this would have been a 
copy specially selected. The readings, as far as they differ from 
those of other copies, give a better and clearer sense, and in 
one or two instances make sense where some other copies 
do not. We find, for example (p. 289, 1. i), ' game/ not 'gaine ' ; 
on p. 147, 1. 3, 'children/ not 'child'; in 1. 10, there is a full 
stop after ' the Counsellor/ and a new sentence begins with the 
word 'Salomon/ in place of the reading which puts a full stop 
after 'his blessed Son/ and goes on 'The Counsellor Salomon 
hath pronounced/ &c. The presentation copy has two errors 
of text, found also in other copies : on p. 186, the name Plau- 
tianus ' is spelt persistently ' Plantianus/ and on p. 356, 1. 2, 
there is a misprint of <aud' for 'and.' I have not thought 
it necessary to follow these obvious mistakes. 

The spelling and punctuation have been modernized, except 
in one or two places, where the original form has been kept, 
for reasons stated in the notes. With proper names, where 
Bacon's spelling is persistent, as with 'Salomon/ ' Macciavel/ 


it has been kept ; where the name occurs once only, and in an 
unauthorized form, as ' Mountaigny,' for 'Montaigne/ it has 
not been kept. 

The presentation copy is in the Bodleian Library. There is 
an inscription on the fly-leaf at the beginning 'This book is 
the same that was presented by the author to the deseased 
the Duke of Buckingham to whom it was dedicated, and by 
L. Rob ts merchant of London presented to the Universitie 
Liberie att Oxonford, to be there preserved as a monument 
for future times. London 6 Nov. London the 16 1628.' 

The Annals of the Bodleian Library give this book among 
the acquisitions of the year 1628 'The copy of Bacon's Essays 
(1625) which was presented by the author to the Duke of Buck 
ingham, was given to the Library by Lewis Roberts, a merchant 
of London.' The head of the Duke is worked in silk on the 
front and on the back cover ; the name appears to be worked 
on the front cover, but not very clearly. 

Of the three best-known contemporary translations of the 
Essays, the Latin is the most valuable. Bacon, in his dedication 
to the Edition of 1625, speaks of it as already complete. What 
part he had in it, how far it was done under his own eye, and 
whether it was finished during his lifetime are uncertain. It was 
first published by Dr. Rawley in 1638. In some of the Essays 
it is probable, in one (29) it is certain, that it represents Bacon 
himself as its approver if not as its author. But in several 
places there are clear mistakes of rendering, such as Bacon 
either cannot have seen, or must have been strangely negligent 
in suffering to pass unaltered. That the title which it bears 
was given it by Bacon himself appears in a letter to Father 
Fulgentio 'sequetur libellus iste quern vestra lingua "Saggi 
Morali" appellastis, verum illi libro nomen gravius impono, 
scilicet ut inscribatur, " Sermones fideles, sive interiora rerum ".' 

' Saggi morali ' is the title of the Italian translation, a work 
of uncertain authorship, published first in 1618, and again, 
somewhat altered, in 1619. That Bacon knew it and to some 
extent gave his sanction to it, may be assumed. We have not 
only the distinct reference to it in the letter quoted above ; 


the book contains an Essay, Of Seditions and Troubles, which 
had not yet been published in an English form, and which we 
may suppose therefore to have been supplied by Bacon himself; 
in the preface to it there is a translation of part of the intended 
dedication to Prince Henry, which had not been published 
in consequence of the Prince's death ; and it was edited by 
Mr. Toby Matthew, Bacon's intimate friend. I have made 
occasional use of this version, sometimes to support an inter 
pretation which I believe to be correct but for which I can find 
no other authority, sometimes to illustrate the different senses 
in which Bacon's writings were interpreted in his own day. 

It contains 38 Essays, omitting Of Religion and Of Super 
stition, and making up the same number as the edition of 1612 
by adding two Essays, Of Honour and Reputation, and Of 
Seditions and Troubles.- In this latter it follows most nearly, 
but not entirely, the unpublished MS. of 1607-12. Elsewhere 
there are one or two noteworthy changes in the text. In the 
Essay Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature, in place of 'one 
of the doctors of Italy, Nicolas Machiavell/ it reads 'quel empio 
Nicolo Machiavello.' Again, in the Essay Of Seditions and 
Troubles, instead of 'as Machiavell well notes/ we have 'come 
ben osserva un scrittore,' whether as part of an obvious design 
to suit the book to its intended Catholic readers, or because the 
observation in question is not to be found in Machiavelli, and 
in point of fact had not been found anywhere. 

In 1619, there appeared a French translation, made or edited 
by Sir Arthur Gorges. We have no proof that Bacon had 
anything to do with it. In its table of contents we have the 
titles of 40 Essays, viz. 1-38, as in the edition of 1612 ; then 
39, D'honneur et Reputation, and 40, De Seditions et Troubles. 
But in the translation itself Essay 40 does not appear. After 
Essay 39 come the words Tfin,' and there the book ends. 
Even if the missing Essay had been there, it would have proved 
nothing as to Bacon's connexion with the book, since it had 
been already given to the world in the Italian version of the 
year before. The translation is on the whole well done. It 
avoids some of the obvious errors of the Latin, but in many 



places it is so slavishly literal, that it gives no clue to the sense 
in which the translator has understood the original text. 

There are also two other French translations by Baudoin, 
little known and little worth knowing, published in 1621 and 
in 1626. The earlier of them has 38 Essays, seemingly trans 
lated or rather paraphrased, from the Italian, which it follows 
both in the Essays chosen and in the peculiar order in which 
they come. The Translation of 1626 has 56 of the 58 Essays 
of the English edition of 1625, omitting Of Delays and Of 
Gardens. Some of its renderings suggest that the translator 
must have had the Latin version before him, in whole or in 
part. It has the almost certain mark of a copy an agreement 
in mistakes. 

Lord Macaulay, in his Essay on 'Lord Bacon/ contrasting 
a passage from the earliest edition of the Essays with an ornate 
passage from the last edition, remarks that his style was con 
tinually becoming richer and softer. There are certainly marked 
differences of style in the three editions of the Essays. The 
first edition is compressed, bald, full of condensed thought, 
but utterly devoid of ornament. The edition of 1612 is oc 
casionally ornate, its sentences run more smoothly and con 
tinuously^; but force and precision are its main characteristics 
throughout. In the latest edition the ornate work becomes very 
**much more frequent : there are long sustained passages of easy 
eloquence, and sentences here and there of singular and un 
affected beauty, not thrust in, but flowing on continuously 

/ with the rest, and thus testifying to the all-round excellence 
of work which suffers nothing by its neighbourhood to the very 
best. But it is not certain, even so, that Bacon's style had 
changed at either of the later years. He was employing a 
different style not because he had gained new powers, but 
because it pleased him then to use powers which he had pre 
viously suffered to lie dormant, as unfit for the special purpose 

\ which he had in view. We have, for instance, among his 

earliest writings, his Advertisement touching controversies in 

, the Church of England, from which some of the most ornate 

passages in the last edition of the Essays have been borrowed 


and worked in. The religious meditations, translated in 1598, 
have furnished passages for other parts. His Advancement 
of Learning was given to the world in 1605, i.e. between the 
first and second editions of the Essays. It contains several 
passages of no common eloquence, and of richness both of 
thought and language. Among his latest works, is the History 
of Henry the Seventh, written 'in so sweet a style, that like .\V 
manna it pleaseth the taste of all palates 1 .' But of ornate 
work it has hardly so much as a trace. The fact seems to be 
that Bacon had at all times almost any style at command, and 
that he varies his style with the occasion, becoming all things 
in turn so as to ensure getting a hearing, trying one experiment 
after another, and giving proof of mastery in each. Just as in 
his philosophical works, he writes sometimes with an air of 
modesty, and as one who is driven in his own despite to assert 
himself; at other times with the utmost scorn for those whose 
opinions he is controverting 'tanquam sui certus et de alto 
despiciens,' but always with the resolve in one way or in the 
other to make himself heard and listened to ; so in his writings 
generally, he passes from style to style so as by some style 
to command attention, thus experimenting in the manner as 
well as in the matter of his works. To speak therefore of x ' \ 
Bacon's style is in strict terms impossible. Almost the only 
attribute common to his writings is that they bear the mark 
of a grand and confident self-esteem, sometimes directly as 
sertive, sometimes condescending, sometimes scornful, some 
times disguised under a transparent affectation of modesty. 
But in one form or another it never fails, and it gives his 
writings at once their special characteristic and not the least 
part of their charm. 

There is one especial characteristic of Bacon's manner which ~1 . ^\ 
does not admit of being illustrated except at a prohibitive length ; 
his long magnificent roll of sentence after sentence, each falling 
into its place, each adding new weight to what has gone before 
it, and all together uniting to complete the entire effect. Each 

1 Baker's Chronicle, p. 426 (Ed. 1679). 




sentence in its turn comes upon the reader as a surprise. The 
plan evolves itself as it proceeds, and it is as forming part of 
the plan that each sentence, excellent in itself, derives new 
excellence as a consistent part of the whole compound design. 
It is as if by stroke after stroke laid on the canvas by some 
great master, a picture had come into being, living and growing 
under his hand, and gaining new expressiveness at each added 
touch. The two Essays Of Atheism and Of Superstition will 
serve to exemplify what is meant. The Essay Of Truth, Of Unity 
in Religion, and the early part of the Essay Of Judicature, are 
hardly less signal examples of it. They carry the reader 
along with them in delighted wonder, and it is not until they 
leave him that the thought suggests itself that he has been 
in the hand of a consummate master of his art. As he reads 
on he forgets the workman in the work ; he has no space or 
leisure for any other thoughts than the successive phases of 

\ the work suggest. 

As for single passages of transcendent excellence, they are 
thickly scattered over the Essays. ' The great winding-sheets 
that cover all are deluges and earthquakes.' What a picture 
of level desolation do these few words present. Again, in the 
Essay Of Truth : ' The first creature of God, in the works of the 
days, was the light of the sense : the last was the light of reason ; 
and his Sabbath work ever since is the illumination of his spirit. 
First, he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos ; 
then he breathed light into the face of man ; and still he breatheth 
and inspireth light into the face of his chosen.' Again, in the 
Essay Of Friendship : ' But little do men perceive what solitude 

: is, and how far it extendeth ; for a crowd is not company, and 
faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, 

! v where there is no love.' No terms are adequate to do justice to 
the crowded excellences of such passages as these. They are 
the work of a great writer at his best, the highest effort of an art 
that defies analysis, simple, unaffected, sublime. 

Very noticeable too is Bacon's way of putting forward a sub 
ject, of handling it at length and with signs of great care, of 
interesting the reader about it, and then at last of waiving it 


away as undeserving notice after all. ' Enough of these toys/ 
are the concluding words of the Essay Of Masks and Triumphs. 
They might be interpolated in a dozen other places where the 
unexpressed contempt of Bacon for his subject is scarcely less 
marked. For grandeur not to say, insolence of manner, ad 
mirable as a piece of art, what could be more impressive than 
the end of the Essay Of Deformity? 'And, therefore, let it not 
be marvelled if sometimes they prove excellent persons ; as was 
Agesilails, Zanger the son of Solyman, Aesop, Gasca president 
of Peru; and Socrates may go likewise amongst them, with 
others.' It is as if Bacon were calling up before him the spirits 
of the mighty dead, and were judging them on their merits, and 
assigning his proper place to each in an off-hand sort of way, 
with an easy air of admitted superiority and of full right to 

'The English reader/ says Mr. Wright, in the introductory 
remarks to his very valuable edition of the Essays, 'will find 
few difficulties in Bacon's language or style.' It would be more 
correct to say that almost every page of the Essays bristles with 
difficulties, some of them the more likely to mislead, because 
even a careful reader, not familiar with the language of Bacon's 
age, might fail to detect them for what they are. In Essay 3, 
for instance, ' points not merely of faith, but of opinion, order, or 
good intention/ would almost of course be interpreted in a sense 
the exact opposite of that which it is intended to bear. In the 
same Essay, where Bacon says, ' if it were done less partially, it 
would be embraced more generally/ no one would discover 
without assistance that ' less partially ' meant here with less of 
party spirit, and that the seeming opposition between the two 
adverbs was a mere trick of words. So in Essay 18, where a 
change of lodging is said to be 'a great adamant of acquaint 
ance/ the meaning would be missed by those who understood 
' adamant ' in the only modern sense of the word. Qften, too, 
Bacon writes in a language which was already becoming anti 
quated. ' Verbum inusitatum tanquam scopulum vita' is a golden 
rule which he much too frequently neglects. Not only does he 
introduce words which were passing out of common use, but he 



coins_jiew words of his own, mostly from the Latin or French. 
This had become the fashion of the age. His literary work was 
done at a time when the so-called 'pure and reformed English/ 
known as Euphuism, had come into vogue, and had infected the 
style of the day. Bacon wasjio Euphuist, but he did not alto 
gether escape the common contagion. He thus frequently fails to 
e utter his mind in plain words, such as are generally received,' 
as Wilson ' at an earlier date bids the orator to do. 

That his style is faultless no one could say. Obscure, un- 
grammatical, pedantic, are the epithets which it frequently calls 
up. ' I send herein/ writes Lady Bacon to her son Anthony, 
'your brother's letter. Construe the interpretation. I do not 
understand his enigmatical folded writing 2 .' These words 
might stand as no unfit description of some parts of the Essays. 
After taking into account Bacon's very frequent _LjLtinisms, 
and his use of words in so vague a way that it is almost im 
possible to be sure what he intends by them, there would still 
remain a separate list to be made of his difficulties of grammar 
or of construction : his indistinct use of pronouns, his sentences 
that run on awhile and are never completed, and his wilfully 
perplexed style, where, out of three contemporary translators, 
no two agree in the rendering. It may be a question how far 
these and like faults in the Essays may have been intentional 
on the writer's part. He is obscure, sometimes because he 
endeavours to put more meaning into his words than they can 
bear ; sometimes from an early habit of obscurity, or from an 
affected manner of speech where he has really nothing to say, 
and trusts to the chapter of accidents and to men's charitable 
speeches to find a right sense for his indistinct oracular utter 
ances. It is impossible therefore to say, with Mr. Wright, 
that the English reader will find few difficulties in Bacon's 
language or style. 

One peculiarity which deserves notice is the frequency with 
which he repeats himself. This is not very obvious in the 
Essays, until the reader comes to compare them with the rest 

1 Art of Rhetoric, p. 3 (Ed. 1553). * Letters and Life, i. 245. 


of his works. A complete list of parallel passages would show 
much of the Essays as compilations carefully selected and 
strung together, with just enough new matter to give them 
consistency and connexion and to fit them into their new place. 
This is most marked, of course, in Bacon's most ornate work. 
He has gems of thought and language, but he does not scatter 
them about with the uncalculating profusion of a Shakespeare, 
not Mike wealthy men who care not how they give,' but rather 
like those who are husbanding their store with care, doling it 
out with measure and method to make its contents go as far 
as they can. So we find frequently the same idea, the same 
form of words, the same favourite conceit brought out and 
compelled to do duty over and over again. 

It appears, too, in several of the Essays, that Bacon had 
formed no very distinct notion of his subject. He sets down 
what the title happens to suggest to him, and if the words 
of the title carry more meanings than one, or if their meaning 
has been suffered to remain indeterminate in his mind,Jhe 
contents of the Essay shift about accordingly. In the Essay, 
e.g. Of Truth, he takes the word first as equal to correctness 
of thought, and thence passes to what he terms the truth of 
civil business, or in other words, to the wholly distinct virtue 
of truthfulness. The Essay Of Envy is even more composite /r 
than this. The two forms of envy of which it treats, private 
envy and public envy, have little or nothing in common, and 
some of the remarks on private envy relate properly to a 
different vice to the (irixmpfKaKia of the Greeks. Those who 
1 think other men's harms a redemption of their own sufferings ' 
are certainly malevolent, but envious they are not. Again, 
in the Essay Of Ambition, it is not easy to see why * to take 
a soldier without ambition is to pull off his spurs.' - Ambition 
is not commonly the virtue or vice to which a soldier as such 
is prone. The love of glory, the desire of earning distinction 
in the wars, may act powerfully in aid of his sense of public 
duty, but these are not forms of ambition. The Essay Of the 
Vicissitude of Things is almost necessarily a composite piece of 
work throughout. 'Things' is a very wide term; whatever 


sense we give to it, things change as time proceeds, so that 
a treatise on change generally may pick and choose its matter 
at random without danger of missing its proposed mark. The 
subject in the Essay Of Beauty is more limited, and admits 
of being more exactly defined. In point of fact, there are con 
tradictory senses given to it, and Bacon roves freely from one 
to the other, asserting in one sentence what he distinctly 
negatives in the next. 

From this, and from other causes, the matter of the Essays 
is of very unequal value. They are at their best when they 
are dealing with the practical rules and cautions to be observed 
in public and in private life. This is especially the part which 
comes home to men's business and bosoms. Bacon is no 
optimist. He has no sentiment to lead him astray. He sees 
clearly what men are at their worst, by what mean motives 
they are impelled, what traps they lay for one another, what 
follies and inconsistencies they fall into. He knows their 
tricks, and he drags them out into full daylight and exposes 

\ them for what they really are. To the careless cursory reader, 
much of what he. has written will seem commonplace enough. 
His rule, for instance, that 'it is vain for princes to take counsel 
concerning matters, if they take no counsel likewise concerning 
persons ; for all matters are as dead images : and the life of 
the execution of affairs resteth in the good choice of persons,' 
this seems so obvious as to be hardly worth mentioning. 
Obvious or not, it has yet to be recognised and applied. Every 
day, when some public scandal has to be excused, some gross 
negligence or breach of trust to be explained away, or to be so 
shifted about that no one can be fixed with responsibility for it, 
we hear it said that it is the system, not the men who have 
been in fault as if any system could work properly when the 
human agents are careless and venal and indifferent, or as 
if any system could fail to work well if the men were earnest 
and capable, and not satisfied with a perfunctory discharge 
of their parts. Again, his remarks on the tyranny of custom, 
' how men profess, protest, engage, give great words, and then 

^ do just as they have done before, as if they were dead images 


and engines ' all this has been said a dozen times over before 
Bacon's day and after it ; it would be all accepted as true ; it 
comes home to men's business, but not therefore to their 
bosoms. They do not know themselves for what they are. 
So, too, with the grand reflexions which Bacon's own experience 
of life has suggested and brought home to him ; the emptiness of 
things which he sees men struggling for ; the disappointments 
and drawbacks which attend the most complete success; the 
servitude of attainment and the uncompensated misery of failure. 
All these have been the common themes of moralists at all ages 
of the world. Bacon could speak as one who had been an 
actor in the great scene, and who was thus marked off from the 
common crowd of mere sermonizers and rhetoricians. 

But when he comes to deal with great questions of policy, . 
he has not so much to offer. His chief Essay on public affairs 
is that in which he undertakes to pronounce^on 'the true 
greatness of kingdoms and estates.' This is a test subject ; one 
which calls for a display of the highest philosophical states 
manship. But how does Bacon deal with it ? The true great 
ness of kingdoms he finds in the extent of territory. The true 
rule for obtaining this greatness is for the state which aims at it 
to keep its teeth and claws in constant readiness, whether to 
guard its own past thieveries, or to snatch something more from 
any neighbour whom it may find weak or unprepared. Here, 
as in his Essay Of Empire, he writes as an advocate of war, *- 
and lays down rules which would serve effectively to ensure its 
occurrence and continuance. The position which he thus 
takes in singular contrast to his earlier pacific utterances- 
has been explained by his defenders as the result of political 
prescience. Foreseeing the approaching struggle between the 
Commons and the Crown, he did his best to engage the nation^ 
in a foreign war, as the best chance of preventing differences 
at home. But this defence Bacon himself has negatived in 
express terms. It has been insinuated, he writes, 'that if a 
State, out of the distemper of their own body, do fear sedition 
and intestine troubles to break out amongst themselves, they 
may discharge their own ill humours upon a foreign war for 


a cure. And this kind of cure was tendered by Jasper Coligni, 
Admiral of France, to Charles the Ninth, the French King, 
when by a vive and forcible persuasion he moved him to a war 
upon Flanders, for the better extinguishment of the civil wars 
of France. But neither was that counsel prosperous : neither 
will I maintain that position ; for I will never set politics against 
ethics ; especially for that true ethics are but as a handmaid to 
divinity and religion 1 .' That this, fine disclaimer is consistent 
with Bacon's language in the Essays and elsewhere, it would 
be no easy task to prove. I quote it not with any belief that it 
represents his real sentiments ; but simply to show that as far 
as he was promoting war either for political objects at home, 
or to suit his own private ends, he has pronounced sentence 
against himself. 

It will be remarked, too, that in the Essay Of Empire he 
writes about kings with no sense of the stimulus which an 
exalted position and consciousness of great power must have 
upon a worthy nature. The ' non sibi sed toti genitum se credere 
mundo' is not suggested to him by his subject. Kings he 
describes as at the highest : they therefore want matter of 
desire ; the object of their lives is to amuse themselves or to 
make themselves safe in their place. At the close of the Essay 
there is just a hint given about the effects which follow from 
their good or bad conduct, but the whole body of the Essay 
follows a different line of thought, and is aptly and adequately 
illustrated by the low and unworthy specimens which he chooses 
as fit types of the depositaries of sovereign power. 

There are other matters in which Bacon's errors and short 
comings are those of the age rather than of the man. When he 
wrote, for example, on the laws of economic science or of trade, 
there was little or nothing of any permanent value which he 
could pick out and appropriate from among the current notions 
of his day. We find, accordingly, that in dealing with this 
whole class of questions, he is at his worst. On his views 
about Usury I have commented at length in the illustrations at 

1 Letters and Life, vii. 478. 


the end of the Essay. In his views about trade he takes the 
mercantile theory as his guide. The increase of any state must, 
he asserts, be at the expense of the foreigner, since whatever is 
somewhere gotten must be somewhere lost. What this means 
appears clearly in his letter of advice to Villiers: 'Let the 
foundation of a profitable trade be thus laid, that the exporta 
tion of home commodities be more in value than the importation 
of foreign, so we shall be sure that the stocks of the kingdom 
shall yearly increase, for then the balance of trade must be 
returned in money or bullion 1 .' In other words, an increase of 
the precious metals is the test of a profitable trade, and is the 
main benefit which trade with the foreigner can bring. It is 
hardly necessary, at this time of day, to expose such a fallacy 
as this. At the time when it was written, it passed current as 
true, and that it was Bacon's honest belief there is no reason to 
doubt. But when he says, in a letter to the Marquis of Bucking 
ham, that a discovery that some Dutch merchants had carried 
gold and silver out of the country, in exchange presumably for 
goods, was a happy thing, since it would serve to demonstrate 
that 'Scotland is not the leech (as some discoursers say), but 
the Netherlanders, that suck the kingdom of treasure 2 ,' or in 
other words, that the king's lavish gifts to his Scotch favourites 
did not impoverish the country as much as a give-and-take trade 
with the Dutch, he may perhaps be suspected of having gone a 
little further than an honest belief could carry him. 

The truth is that Bacon in his Essays, and in his writings 
generally, had set himself an impossible task. At an early age 
he had taken all knowledge for his province, and it was not 
easy for him to make good so large a claim as this. Where he 
had thorough knowledge, he was singularly able to display it, 
and to obtain credit for the whole of it. 'In law,' said Queen 
Elizabeth of him, ' he shows all he has, and is not deep.' Deep 
or not, he had the same skill in all subjects of showing all he 
had, ' omnium quae dixerat feceratque arte quadam ostentator.' 
Frequently, too, he contrives to show more than he has, like 

1 Letters and Life, vi. 22. , a Letters and Life, vi. 374. 


those whom he describes as always affecting to keep back some 
what, and when they know within themselves they speak of that 
they do not well know, would nevertheless seem to others to 
know of that which they may not well speak. But with or 
without precise knowledge, there are some points of style in 
which Bacon never fails. He has always magnificence of dic 
tion, amplitude of promise, an outline of wide range, and an 
almost divine satisfaction in the work as very good. These are 
excellences of no common order ; they give proof of consum 
mate literary art, but they are not to be taken for more than 
they are worth, or for something which they are not. 

For accuracy in detail Bacon had no care whatever, and this 
again may be set down as probably a part of his craft. Careless 
ness of detail is certainly one of the characteristics of Bacon's 
Essays. Laboured and elaborate as they are in parts, and 
claiming to be written for all time as long as books shall last, 
they are none the less crowded with errors and misquotations, 
or are borne out in parts by manufactured evidence distorted 
from its original sense. Mr. Spedding, who holds a perpetual 
brief for Bacon, does all he can to extenuate the fault of mis 
quotation, or even to put it forward as a merit. Commenting 
on a remark of Dr. Rawley, that 'if Bacon had occasion to 
repeat another man's words after him, he had an use and 
faculty to dress them in better vestments and apparel than they 
had before ; so that the author should find his own speech much 
amended, and yet the substance of it still retained/ he says 
that this is probably the true explanation of Bacon's habit of 
inaccurate quotation. ' In quoting an author's words,' says Mr. 
Spedding, ' he very often quotes inaccurately. Sometimes, no 
doubt, this was unintentional, the fault of his memory; but 
more frequently, I suspect, it was done deliberately; for the 
sake of presenting the substance in a better form, or a form 
better suited to the particular occasion. In citing the evidence 
of witnesses, on the contrary, in support of a narrative state 
ment or an argument upon matter of fact, he is always very 
careful V 

1 Works, i. p. 13. 


That Bacon frequently quoted from memory seems certain. 
His words in Essay 4, 'Salomon, I am sure, saith, It is the 
glory of a man to pass by an offence,' are a sort of notice to the 
reader that he intends to rely upon his memory, and that he 
does not think it worth while, or will not be at the trouble, to 
verify what he thus quotes. We find, accordingly, that the 
Essays abound in misquotations of a more or less important 
kind. Some of them are mere blunders. The sentence quoted 
is changed neither for the better nor for the worse, or is put 
into the wrong mouth or made referable to the wrong person, 
when the right mouth or the right person would have served 
equally well. But the distortion is occasionally more grave 
than this, and is of a kind which Mr. Spedding's laudatory 
defence does not cover or excuse. Let us look, for example, 
at the first words of the first Essay Of Truth. ' What is truth ? 
said jesting Pilate.' Whately, in his note on this, gives what 
seem good reasons for believing that Pilate was not jesting or 
scoffing, but was wishing for an answer to a question which he 
was asking seriously. We read, a little further down, ' One of 
the fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum daemonum' 
This passage has been searched for by generations of com 
mentators, but it has never been found, and there is good 
reason to think that it does not exist. Towards the end of the 
Essay 'Montaigne saith prettily:' and words follow which are 
not Montaigne's, but are stated by him in express terms to be 
the words of some one else an ancient. Last of all comes 
the magnificent peroration, and the Essay ends with ' it being 
foretold that, when Christ cometh, he shall not find faith upon 
the earth.' This is not foretold : the question is simply asked 
whether it will be so or not, and with no reference whatever to 
the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith as the last peal 
to call down the judgments of God. Now considering the 
subject of the Essay Of Truth this is pretty well. Again, in 
Essay 10, Of Love, Bacon says, 'it is a poor saying of Epi 
curus, Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus: as if man, 
made for the contemplation of heaven and all noble objects, 
should do nothing but kneel before a little idol, and make him- 


self subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts are), yet of the 
eye, which was given him for higher purposes.' This is a com 
plete misrepresentation of the meaning. The saying is not that 
of a lover, as Bacon wrongly assumes it to be. It is quite 
clearly the saying of a philosopher, satisfied to hold intercourse 
with the single friend whom he is addressing, and disdaining 
the voice of the multitude. Again, in Essay 43, wishing to 
prove that persons in years have a beauty above that of the 
young, he gives as an authority ' pulchrorum autumnus pulcher* 
It should be pulchrorum etiam autumnus pulcher, the omitted 
word destroying the argument which the mutilated version 
supports. Again, in Essay 42, he speaks of ' such as take too 
high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract 
of years can uphold ; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy 
saith in effect, Ultima primis cedebant' Here, again, is a misre 
presentation of what Livy says, and this, too, where Bacon is 
citing evidence ' in support of a narrative statement.' That, in 
his Essay Of Friendship, he misrepresents and misinterprets 
Aristotle, is almost a matter of course. Curious, too, is his 
occasional way of building passages into his text in a sense 
wholly different from that which they bore in the original.' He 
speaks, e. g. in Essay 44, of deformed persons being, ' as the 
Scripture saith, void of natural affection ; ' and again, in 
Essay 56, of 'that shower whereof the Scripture speaketh, 
Pluet super eos laqueos ; for penal laws pressed are a shower of 
snares upon the people.' It is not worth while to add further 
instances of the mere inaccuracies which occur on almost every 
page. Their frequency and seeming wilfulness may perhaps 
raise a suspicion that Bacon in introducing them has been 
observing his own rule 'if you dissemble sometimes your 
knowledge of that you are thought to know, you shall be 
thought another time to know that you know not.' 

On religious toleration Bacon writes somewhat doubtfully. 
In his Essay Of Unity in Religion he declares against 'san 
guinary persecutions to force consciences/ but he goes on to 
imply that in cases of overt scandal or blasphemy even san 
guinary persecutions may be justified. The Essay however 



concludes in another strain. ' Ira hominis non implet justitiam 
Dei : and it was a notable observation of a wise father, and no 
less ingenuously confessed, that those which held and per 
suaded pressure of consciences were commonly interessed 
therein themselves for their own ends/ This seems to con 
demn every form of persecution, mild or sanguinary, which has 
for its object to force consciences. But if this is what Bacon 
meant, it is certainly not what he either 'practised, or advised, 
or praised. In his letter to Villiers, he lays it down that if any 
' who are known schismaticks transplant themselves into planta 
tions abroad, they may be sent for back upon the first notice : 
such persons are not fit to lay the foundation of a new 
colony, in which there is to be the same purity of religion and 
the same discipline for Church-government as at home 1 .' It 
is clear, too, from this and from other passages that Roman 
Catholics did not come within his limits of toleration. It is 
difficult to be sure in every instance how far his objections 
to them were on political rather than on religious grounds. 
But we find, in his speech as Lord Keeper to the Judges 
before the circuit, good evidence that his objections were 
not only political : ' Of all other things, I must begm as the 
King begins ; that is, with the cause of religion ; and especially 
the hollow church-papist. St. Augustine hath a good com 
parison of such men, affirming that they are like the roots 
of nettles, which themselves sting not, but yet they bear all 
the stinging leaves. Let me know of such roots, and I will 
root them out of the country V 

Bishop Earle, in his Microcosmographia, chap. 10, gives us 
the interpretation of the above phrase. He defines the Church 
Papist as ' one that parts his religion betwixt his conscience and 
his purse, and comes to Church not to serve God, but the King. 
The face of the Law makes him wear the mask of the Gospel, 
which he uses not as a means to save his soul but his charges,' 
&c. &c. It seems clear then that Bacon required something 
more from Roman Catholics than inoffensive personal conduct 
and outward conformity to the law. 

1 Letters and Life, vi. 21, 22, 52. ' * Letters and Life, vi. 213. 


In dealing with heretics, there were no lengths which he was 
not prepared to approve. King James, in ' a declaration against 
Vorstius/ a Leyden professor suspected of Socinian views, had 
not only asserted it to be the duty of a Christian ruler to extirpate 
heresies, but had strongly urged the United Provinces to deal 
hardly with Vorstius, and if they did not burn him as they 
ought to do, at least to banish him from their country 1 . Vorstius 
was not burnt, but he was deprived of his professorship and 
was banished. Bacon again and again praises James for the 
share he had undoubtedly had in bringing about this result 2 . 
/ There is nothing in all this that calls for any special comment. 
It shows only that Bacon's views on religious toleration were 
not very different from the current views of his day, not very 
different from those of Hooker before him, or of Thorndyke at 
a later date. 

Not much of Bacon's character and mode of life can be seen 
on the surface of his Essays. Here and there we have an 
indication, sometimes of what he was, sometimes of what he 
believed himself to be, or of what he wished to be thought to be. 
His Essay Of Love is most commonly referred to as giving 
proof of a cold calculating temper, and of a firm resolve to 
allow nothing to turn him aside from his efforts after advance 
ment in life. His Essa_y_On Friendship is written in a warmer 
strain, not wanting in enthusiasm, and with some grand rhetorical 
passages. But when we look closely at its contents we see that out 
of Aristotle's three forms of friendship, Bacon recognizes only 
the two lower forms, that which looks\to pleasure, and that 
which looks to use,/and he writes grandly about both of them. 
But beyond these he does not attempt to go. Of the highest 
friendship, that which binds men together by the mutual 
delight which each feels in the society of oiie whose noble 
character keeps his own better impulses quick and lively, and 
who is loved, not as agreeable to his friend, not as likely to be 
of service to him, but as presenting a type of excellence similar 

1 The Works of the Most. High and Mighty Prince James, published by the 
Bishop of Winchester (1616), pp. 349, &c. 

2 Letters and Life, iv. 313, note 2, and v. 142. 


to his own, and as thus bringing into more frequent and vivid 
consciousness the highest faculties of his soul of all this 
Bacon has not one word. The Essay Of Goodness, and Good 
ness of Nature, shows us a man not insensible to the social 
duties of life, and not incapable of high thoughts and aims. 
So, too, in the Essay Of Ambition, the vantage-ground to do 
good is put forward as the most worthy object of aspiration. 
We are not to treat this as words, mere words, no matter from 
the heart. Bacon may be credited with having felt and in 
tended what he writes; but that he allowed such visionary ideas 
to stand in the way of his advancement, or that he was minded 
in any way to sacrifice himself for the good of others, his whole 
public career too certainly disproves. The plea that has been 
put in for him, that he sought place and power only that he 
might be able to do more for the advancement of science than 
he could have done in a private station, is hardly borne out by 
facts. How, it may be asked, did he forward the interests 
of science from the vantage-ground of great place ? That he 
managed to link his own name to the scientific movement of 
the age is nothing to the point here. That he endeavoured 
to persuade the king to divert for inter alia the endowment of 
professorships such part of Sutton's Estate as he did not keep 
for himself is something, but it is not much. That he left by 
will a sum of money for the founding of two lectureships, on 
natural philosophy and on the sciences, is open to his own 
remark that, ' if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather 
liberal of another man's than of his own.' This censure is 
doubly applicable to Bacon's posthumous liberality, for when 
his estate came to be administered, there were no available 
effects, and his two lectureships were never founded. 

There are many passages in the Essays which will serve to 
illustrate the marked contrast between Bacon's words and his 
deeds, between his abortive impulses and his acts. His Essay 
Of Judicature gives a tolerably complete sketch of what an 
upright judge should be. 'Above all things integrity is his 
proper virtue ' a strange remark from the pen of one who had 
been disgraced for taking bribes, and had been forced to make 



full public confession of his several and repeated misdeeds. 
' In causes of life and death, judges ought (as far as the law 
permitteth) in justice to remember mercy/ this from a con 
triver of the scheme by which Raleigh was to be brought to the 
scaffold under show of legal process, to please Gondomar and 
Spain. No one has laid bare the arts of flattery with more skill 
or with more scorn, being all the while a gross and shameless 
flatterer, in an age of gross flatterers. So, too, in his Essay 
Of Seeming Wise, he pours contempt on devices which he 
himself habitually practised. So, too, he can see and approve 
the singular charm of the ' sapientum templa serena,' from which 
the wise man looks down on the vain and misdirected efforts of 
the wandering crowd below; but he is himself one of the crowd, 
engaged in an incessant struggle ' contendere nobilitate, Noctes 
atque dies niti praestante labore Ad summas emergere opes 
rerumque potiri,' shrinking from no baseness which seems 
likely to help him on his way, and forced at last to retire 
defeated and disgraced, but unable even so to resign himself to 
the lot which he affects to consider as the best and most 
choiceworthy. We are not to conclude from all this that Bacon 
was a conscious hypocrite. Strangely enough he seems never 
to have been aware of the enormity of his own misdeeds, and 
he commends himself to the approval of posterity with an 
apparently sincere belief that he had done nothing to be 
ashamed of, and that his character would be finally cleared. 
This is a peculiarity worth notice, and one which the Essays 
serve especially to bring out. With all their faults and 
omissions, they show us Bacon at his best ; Bacon as- he thought 
himself to be and as he wished the world to think of him ; Bacon 
as he might have been if his better nature had prevailed, and if 
no temptation had come in the way to bear down his weak 
intermittent tendencies after good. The state of mind which 
they exhibit is thus paradoxical in the extreme. We have a man 
conscious of many meannesses and of some downright crimes, 
and well aware that they were almost as well known to other 
people as to himself, but even in his private prayers finding 
nothing worse to say about himself than that he had not turned 


his powers to what he thinks might have been their best use, 
that he had taken part in public affairs while he had better have 
been busy with his studies ; for the rest, in all sincerity taking 
credit for his past life, and laying down rules of conduct, 
excellent no doubt many of them, but just those which he had 
most signally failed to observe. The key to the problem may 
perhaps be found in Bacon's belief in his own high mission, 
and in the practical immunities attaching to it. If he was 
indeed a man marked out as the guide and benefactor of his 
species, born, as he himself says, for the service of mankind, and 
thus mixing with his fellow-men not as an equal, but as a heaven 
sent superior and judge, it is less strange that he should 
presume somewhat on his position, and should relax in his own 
favour such portions of the moral law as he found it inconvenient 
to observe. Instances of self-delusion such as this have been 
seen at almost all times. They were not unknown in Bacon's 
day; and they became more common still afterwards. The 
fifth-monarchy man, possessed of an inward light or illuminated 
by the Holy Spirit, could assert for himself a dispensing 
power as wide as Bacon's and as serviceable for his own ends. 
It is hard on any other theory to understand how Bacon 
could have maintained to the last a conscious dignity and self- 

I shall not attempt to enter into the details of Bacon's career. 
They have been written many times over, and from many 
different points of view. Mr. Spedding's edition of his Life 
and Letters gives the whole story fully and completely. No 
fact or letter or sentence, however discreditable, is suppressed. 
They are all set down and they are all explained away, and 
Mr. Spedding's faith in Bacon remains unshaken to the end. 
But a panegyric which is for ever on the defensive is apt to 
raise more suspicions than it lays at rest, especially when we 
see to what strange shifts Mr. Spedding is occasionally driven 
in his loyal resolve to make out his case. Professor Fowler, in 
his preface to the Novum Organum (second edition), writes 
more judicially. ^His line of defence is that Bacon's fatal fault 
was extreme carelessness in money matters ; that this was the 

c 2 


root from which most of his errors and misfortunes sprang ; 
that his constant pecuniary difficulties led as their natural result 
to undue office-seeking and a constant craving for preferment ; 
and that the habits thus formed in early life continued to 
operate, as in point of fact such habits frequently do, in 
circumstances different from those by which they were originally 
formedJ This, however, is an explanation rather than a 
defence ; and in Professor Fowler's carefully guarded language 
it does not so much as attempt to explain much that is in sad 
need of being explained. Bacon's private diary and rules of 
conduct are a hard morsel for his admirers. Mr. Spedding 
has an ingenious defence for them. The things, he says, of 
which a man needs to remind himself are those which he is apt 
to forget. His inference is that arts and tricks to curry favour 
with the great and to get on in the world were naturally 
distasteful to Bacon, and that though he thought it right to 
practise them with a view to ulterior objects and to important 
patriotic ends, he had to work against the grain in doing so. 
Professor Fowler says frankly that Bacon's private memoranda 
are 'revelations not of a pleasant character.' His doubt is 
whether most other public men would show much better if the 
world had as clear an insight into their secret thoughts and 
purposes, whether, in short, Bacon was much more of a rogue 
than public men have a sort of prescriptive right to be. Not 
less varied has been the estimate of Bacon's scientific work. 
We find him exalted as the founder of modern science, the 
pioneer and guide who has shewn the way to all who have come 
after him, 

. . . ' Large-browed Verulam, 
The first of those who know.' 

And we find him set down as a rank impostor, who has 
discovered nothing ; whose method, as far it is correct, was one 
which the world had already found out and put in practice for 
itself; and who has given himself airs as a scientific leader and 
director, while in point of fact he was lagging somewhere in the 
rear, well-nigh out of sight, and often in error as to the route by 
which the main body was pressing forward. His advocates 


insist, with justice, on his magnificent scientific aims, on his 
lordly sweep over the wide field of knowledge, on his exposure 
and correction of errors and of faulty methods which for long 
ages had been tried with no result ; and their regret is that his 
immersion in public affairs prevented him from completing in 
detail the vast plan which he has sketched out. His detractors 
urge that the destructive part of his work came too late to be of 
use ; that the methods which he condemned had already ceased 
to be employed ; that he failed admittedly in his attempts at 
discovery and construction ; and when they read his remarks 
on spirits, on the transmutation of metals, and on the cause of 
the sweet dews which fall from the end of the rainbow where 
'it rests, they affect to doubt whether all this would have come 
to much, if the labour of a lifetime had been given to it. 

But all these are curious questions which I must leave in 
other hands. My chief concern here is with Bacon's literary 
work. The Essays alone give an imperfect view of this. They 
show some only of his numerous and varied styles. But they 
have qualities of their own for which we shall find no exact 
counterpart elsewhere. What these are I have already en 
deavoured to set down and in some part to illustrate. It is not \ 
only that the matter of the Essays is often of the very highest 
value ; that they give us the experience of one who had looked 
on life from many sides, the compressed wisdom of an observer 
to whom the ways and thoughts of men had long been as an 
open book. Their perfection is rather in the combination of 
the matter and the form. The language in which they are 
written seems the proper clothing of the ideas. Even where j 
the matter is valueless, there is consummate art in the garb of 
exalted wisdom which the author can fling about his meanest 
and most commonplace thoughts, yet without the least obvious 
unfitness between the language and the thought. His oracular 
manner ; his sudden breaks, which leave the reader still eager 
and expectant; his crowded fulness of meaning; his wide range 
of thought; his seeming insight into the very centre of things; 
his unruffled calmness there may be a trick of style in all this, 
but it is one which has not yet grown stale, and the secret of 


which the world has never yet found out. It cannot indeed be 
said of Bacon, as Johnson has said of Addison, that those who 
wish to excel in the same department of work must give their 
days and nights to his volumes. He is not a model for imitation, 
in language or in the structure of his sentences. He is a classic 
of a past age. He writes in a fashion which the modern world 
has long ceased to use, and it is impossible that it should ever 
return to it. But as a classic he will keep his place, and by 
universal agreement his place is in the first rank. 


P. 6, 1. 5, and note on p. 9, for schools read school. 

P. 9, note on 1. 6, add Pattison mentions the following among ' the character 
istic sentences which Montaigne has inscribed on the cornices of his library, 

" Nostra vagatur 

In tenebris nee caeca potest mens cernere verum," 
from Lucretius; and 

itavrl \6ytf> \6yos iffos avTitceirat' 
from Sextus Empiricus.' Reprint of Essays, vol. ii. p. 341. 

P. 21, 1. 3 and note./o* zealants read zelants. 

P. 24, 1. 29, for councils and council read counsels and counsel. 

P. 34, 1. 7 from bottom, for version of p. 184 read version of p. 1814. 

P. 56, note *,for Essay 27 read Essay 28. 

P. 67, at end of note on p. 60, 1. 19, add Conf. also, Frazer : The Golden 
Bough, Cap. III. sec. 13, on 'Transference of ills,' giving numerous instances in 
proof of the prevalence of a like belief. I extract the following. A Bavarian 
cure for the fever is to write upon a piece of paper ' Fever stay away, I am 
not at home ' and to put the paper in some person's pocket. The latter 
then catches the fever, and the patient is rid of it. Another cure is for the 
patient to stick a twig of elder-tree in the ground without speaking. The fever 
then adheres to the twig, and whoever pulls up the twig will catch the disease. 
Vol. II. p. 153. 

P. 95, 1. 32, and note on passage at p. 103, for Machiavel read Macciavel. 

P. 103, note on 95, 1. 7, after Fragment of an Essay on Fame add Works, vi. 
P- 5*9- 

P. 186, 1. 34 and P. 187, 1. 6, for Comineus read Commineus. 

P. 282, 1. 12, for disemboltura read desemboltura ; and add But, in some 
specimens of Bacon's handwriting, the b and v are so nearly alike, that it is quite 
possible that Bacon wrote, correctly, ' desemvoltura,' and that the ' desem 
boltura ' in the text is a printer's error. 

P. 298, note on 1. 26. The ' certain suspicions ' may perhaps have been about 
a proposal of the Dutch Commissioners to 'join their stocks into one bank' with 
the English East India Company, and to trade conjointly for the future. Vide 
Letters and Life, vi. 450. 

P. 357, note on p. 355, 1. 14. The passage in Livy which Bacon had in mind 
was probably bk. xxxv. cap. 49, ' Quod si quis antea ignorasset quae res Antio- 
chum et Aetolos conjunxisset, ex legatorum sermone potuisse apparere : 
mentiendo invicem jactandoque vires quas non haberent inflasse vana spe atque 
inflates esse.' Conf. Works, vii. 171, 172. 







Newly Enlarged. 




And are to be sold at the signe of the Kings head in Pauls Church-yard 


To the Right Honorable My Very Good Lo. The Duke 
of Buckingham his Grace, Lo. High Admirall of 

Excellent Lo. 

Salomon saies ; A good Name is as a precious 
oyntment; And I assure my selfe, such wil your Graces 
Name bee, with Posteritie. For your Fortune, and Merit 
both, have been Eminent. And you have planted Things, 
that are like to last. I doe now publish my Essayes ; 
which, of all ^ny other workes, have been most Currant : 
For that, as if seems, they come home, to Mens Businesse, 
and Bosomes. I have enlarged them, both in Number, 
and Weight ; So* that they are indeed a New Worke. I 
thought it therefore Agreeable, to my Affection, and 
Obligation to your Grace, to prefix your Name before 
them, both in English; and in Latine. For 1 doe conceive, 
that the Latine Volume of them, (being in the Universall 
Language) may last, as long as Bookes last. My Instaura- 
tion, I dedicated to the 'King: My Historie of Henry the 
Seventh (which I have now also translated into Latine) and 
my Portions of Naturall History, to the Prince : And these 
I dedicate to your Grace ; Being of the best Fruits, that 
by the good Encrease, which God gives to my Pen and 
Labours, I could yeeld. God leade your Grace by the 

Your Graces most Obliged andfaithfull Servant, 

Fr. St. Alban. 

B 2 








WHAT is truth ? said jesting a Pilate ; and would not 
stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in 
giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting b 
free-will in thinking-, as well as in acting. And though the 
sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain 
certain discoursing wits c , which are of the same veins d , 
though there be not so much blood in them as was in those 

& jesting] i. e. scoffing. Lat. Pilatus or mind, may pass as the nearest 

derisor. modern equivalent for it. 

b affecting] i. e. having a liking for. For both the above words, conf. 

Conf. Essay 47: 'Use also such per- 'Neither is this matter of discourse, 

sons as affect the business wherein they except the deep and profound reasons 

are employed, for that quickeneth much.' of law which ought chiefly to be 

c discoursing wits] Lat. ingenia ven- searched shall be accounted discourse, 

tosa et discursiva, as the slighter sort of wits (sdoli) may 

Bacon uses discourse in various esteem them.' Works, vii. 530. 
senses ; sometimes, as in the text, d veins] i. e. mental habits or tenden- 

= empty talk or chatter. cies. Conf. Essay 32 : ' Certainly he 

Wit, he uses sometimes of the that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh 

faculty ; sometimes, as in the text, others afraid of his wit, so he had 

of the person possessing it. Intellect, need be afraid of others' memory." 


of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labour 
which men take in finding out of truth ; nor again, that 
when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that 
doth bring lies in favour ; but a natural though corrupt 
love of the lie itself. One of the later schools of the 
Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think 
what should be in it, that men should love lies ; where 
neither they make for pleasure, as with poets ; nor for 
advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. 

10 But f I cannot tell : this same truth is a naked and open 
daylight, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, 
and triumphs 8 of the world, half so stately and daintily 
as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price 
of a pearl, that showeth best by day, but it will not rise 
to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth 
best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add 
pleasure. Doth any man doubt that if there were taken 
out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false 
valuations, imaginations as one would h , and the like, but it 

20 would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken 
things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing 
to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called 
poesy ' vinum daemonum,' because it filleth the imagination, 
and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the 
lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, 
and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of 1 


6 imposeth upon] i. e. lays a restraint And told him of these triumphs 

upon. Lat. ex ea inventa cogitationibus held at Oxford.' 

imponitur captivitas, as contrasted with Richard II, act v. sc. 3. 

the ' free-will in thinking ' of which ' O, thou art a perpetual triumph, an 

Bacon has spoken above. everlasting bonfire-light.' 

f But &c.] The Latin gives this stac- i Henry IV, act iii. sc. 3. 

cato passage somewhat more trippingly: And Essay 37, Of Masques and 

Sed nescio quomodo, veritas ista &c. Triumphs. 

e triumphs} i. e. shows or sports, on h as one would] Lat. intaginationes 

a scale of some magnificence. ad libitum. 

' Some two days since I saw the ' such as we spake of] i. e. such a lie 

prince, as, not such a hurt as. The Latin gives 


before. But howsoever k these things are thus in men's 
depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only 
doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which 
is the love-making or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, 
which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is 
the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. 
The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was 
the light of the sense : the last was the light of reason : 
and his sabbath work ever since is the illumination of his 
Spirit. First, he breathed light upon the face of the 10 
matter, or chaos ; then he breathed light into the face of 
man; ancT still 1 he breatheth and inspireth light into the 
face of his chosen. The poet that beautified the sect that 
was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet m excellently 
well : // is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see 
ships tossed upon the sea : a pleasure to stand in the window 
of a castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof 
below : but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the 
vantage ground of truth, (a hill not to be commanded, and 
where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the 20 
errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale 
belozv : so always that this prospect be with pity, and not 
with swelling or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon 
earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in pro 
vidence, and turn upon the poles of truth. 

To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the 
truth of n civil business ; it will be acknowledged, even by 

quite clearly mendacium quod a me*ite in the 'Latin. It may mean either 

imbibitur, nempe ejus generis de quo ante further, moreover, and if so will apply 

diximus. to tne entire clause ; or, as Mr. Abbott 

k But howsoever &c.] i.e. in what way suggests, in spite of his belonging to an 

soever it happens that these things are inferior sect, a sense not well in keeping 

thus. Lat. utcunque haec ita se habeant. with the terms of praise with which 

1 still] Here, as generally else- the unnamed writer is introduced. 
where, = ever. Conf. e. g. Essay 29 : n truth of civil business} The Latit 

' For greatness, it maketh to be still for marks distinctly this change in the 

the most part in arms.' Lat. quasi sense of the word-arf veritatem ant 

semper potius veracitatetn. 

yet] This word is not translated civil business-] i.e. business relating 


those that practise it not, that clear and round p dealing is 
the honour of man's nature, and that mixture of falsehood 
is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make 
the metal work the better, but it embaseth ft. For these 
winding and crooked courses ar the goings of the 
serpent ; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon 
the feet. There is^io vice that doth so cover a man with 
shame as to be found false and perfidious ; and therefore 
Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason 
jo why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and 
such an odious charge. Saith he, If it be well weighed, to 
say that a man lieth, is as much to say as that he is brave 
towards God and a coward towards men. For a lie faces 
God, and shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness of 
falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly 
expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal q to call the 
judgments of God upon the generations of men : it being 
foretold that, when Christ cometh, he shall not find faith 
upon the earth. 


P. 5, 1. 5. sects of Philosophers} This is probably an allusion 
to Pyrrho and the sceptical schools, to which Bacon makes express 
reference in the Nov. Org. Bk. I. aph. 67. The indeterminate 
language in the Essay would be borne out by the tenets assigned 
either to these, or to the New Academy, of which Bacon speaks at 
greater length in the same aphorism : ' Nova Academia Acatalepsiam 
dogmatizavit et ex professo tenuit. Quae licet honestior ratio sit 
quam pronuntiandi licentia, quum ipsi pro se dicant se minime 

to the intercourse and dealing, in flying up to the mark.' And, ' So highly 
society, of citizen with citizen. Conf. esteemed they a plain, simple and round 
' Civil knowledge .... hath three manner of speaking, which compriseth 
parts, according to the three summary in few words much matter and a 
actions of society : which are Conver- sentence massy and sound.' Plutarch, 
sation, Negociation, and Government.' Morals : Of Intemperate Speech ; Hoi- 
Works, iii. 445. land's trans, p. 167. 

P round} i.e. straightforward, direct. 1 it shall be the last peal &c.} Lat. 
Conf. Essay 6 : 'A show of fearfulness istis (quasi ultimis clamoribus) devo- 
doth spoil the feathers of round cabuntur judicia Dei. 


confundere inquisitionem, ut Pyrrho fecit et Ephectici, sed habere 
quod sequantur ut probabile, licet non habeant quod teneant ut 
verum ; tamen,' etc. And again in aph. 37, he says of the New 
Academy, ' nihil sciri posse simpliciter asserunt.' 

1. 6. certain discoursing wits\ The reference may be to Fran- 
ciscus Sanchez, whose treatise, Quod nihil scitur (1576), seems to 
have been known to Bacon. Sanchez professes to write as a thorough 
sceptic. He begins his treatise : ' Nee unum hoc scio, me nihil scire. 
Conjector tamen nee me nee alios. Haec mihi vexillum propositio 
sit, haec sequenda venit nihil scitur.' The reasoning by which 
he establishes his position the obvious absurdities of many received 
opinions, the imperfections of the senses, and the faulty inferences 
which men are in the habit of making from them is, in parts, so 
like some of the destructive aphorisms in the First Book of the Novum 
Organum, that the resemblance can hardly have been accidental. 
But Sanchez constructs nothing. He concludes in favour of the 
sceptical formula with which he starts. His work is an extreme 
expression of the dislike and distrust which men were beginning to 
feel for a dogmatism which had passed current as science. That the 
contemptuous reference in the Essay was intended to include 
Montaigne is likely enough. His rambling tentative style, and his 
mischievous delight in multiplying proofs of the weakness and 
fallibility of human judgment, would explain Bacon's inclusion of 
him among the discoursing modern wits. It deserves notice, too, 
that although Bacon often follows Montaigne, this is the only Essay 
in which he refers to him by name. 

P. 6, 1. 4. a natural &c.] Conf. Montaigne : ' Je trouve que nous ne 
sommes pas seulement lasches a nous deffendre de la piperie ; mais 
que nous cherchons et convions a nous y enferrer : nous aimons a 
nous embrouiller en la vanite, comme conforme a nostre estre.' 
Essays, bk. iii. chap. xi. 

1. 5. One of the later schools of the Grecians] The reference is to 
Lucian's Philopseudes, sec. i : "E^eis /*oi, & <I>iX6KXetr, dirdv ri irort 
apa TOVTO eo-Tiv o TOIIS TroXXov? els (iri0vp.iav TOV ^fv8f<rdai TrpodytTai, (as 
avrovs Te xaipfiv p.r)8fi> vyifs Xeyovraf KOI TO'IS TO. TOIO.VTO. 8teiovfri paXicrra 
Trpoo-fxeiv TOV vovv ; IloXXa, 3> Ti^iciS??, ear\v a rovs dvdpanrovs fviovs dvayxd- 
a TO. \l/ev8r) \eyeiv ts TO ^prjai/jLov aTro/SXerroiraff. 

OvSe> irpbs eiros ravTa 'AXXa nepl eKfivuv, a> apurTf, (prjp.1 ol (iv(v 

TT)S XP'? TO tyevdos -rrtpl TToXXov TTjs d\r)6elas TiOevTai 7jfiojue/oi T<p TrpdyfiaTi 
KOI fvdiaTpiftovTes eV ovSe/Jua irpo(pd<rei dvayKaiq. TOVTOVS ovv (6f\a> fl8evai 
TWOS dyatiov TOVTO irotovcriv. 

1.15. carbuncle} ' Carbunculus. Solaris lapis lucet ex propria natura 
sicut Sol.' Paracelsus, vol. ii. p. 125 b (ed. of 1658, Geneva, in three 
folio vols.). ' The best of these stones will shine in darknesse like a 
burning coale, as Albertus writeth, himself hath scene. Others shine 

10 ESSAY I. 

but a little and are lesse esteemed, but such as shine not at all are 
scarce of any reckoning.' Bullokar, English Expositor, sub voce. 

1. 22. One of the fathers &c.] This quotation has not been traced. 
The only explanation I can find of it is as follows : Jerome, in a 
letter to Damasus (Ep. 146), writes, ' Daemonum cibus est carmina 
poetarum.' Augustine, Confess, i. 16, terms poetry ' vinum erroris ab 
ebriis doctoribus propinatum.' Bacon thus seems to have been quoting 
from memory, and to have combined the two passages. It was a 
fixed idea with him, as his mistakes of memory usually were. He 
says, e.g. in the Adv. of Learning, ' Did not one of the fathers in great 
indignation call Poesy "vinum daemonum," because it increaseth 
temptations, perturbations and vain opinions ? ' Works, iii. 440. 

1. 24. the shadow of a lie] In this and in the next sentence Bacon 
seems to have had before him some passages from Plato's Republic : 

OVK olo~da, r\v 8' e'yw, on, TO ye u>s d\T)d5>s ^eCSoy, ei olov re TOVTO eiTretj/, navrts 
deoi Te Kal avdpunroi fjnaovcriv ; .... e'yoo 8e Xeyo> on rfj ^vxf) nepl TO. ovra 
^fv8fo-0ai re KOI tyevvdai KOI dfiadrj e/ui Kal evravda fftfiv re KOI KfKTTJo~dai TO 
\lffv8os irdvTes TJKICTT' av 8faivTO Kal jjuo-ovcri /idXiora avTO tv T<B TOIOVTOI. 
IIoXu ye, f(f)T], 'AXXa /JL.TJV opOoTOTO. y av, o vvv 8rj eXtyov, TOVTO a>? aXqdas 
i}ffv8os KoXotTO, fj ev TTJ tyvxfj ayvoia rj TOV e^fvo-fj.ei'ov. enel TO ye ev TOIS 
\6yois p,iiJ:T)p,d TI TOV fv TTJ ^v^fj e'crrl nadr^iaTos Kal vore pov ysyovbs eiSwXoj/, 

011 iravv aicpaTov tyfvo~os. Republic, p. 382. 

Conf. also, Iloppco apa TTOV TOV dXrjdovs r] /xi^t^TtK^ eon, Kal, a>s eoiKf, 8ia 
TOVTO irdvTa dnepyd^fTai, OTI o-p.iKp6v TI fKao~Tov ecpdirTfTai, Kal TOVTO eiScuXoi/, 

p. 598, and the entire discussion which introduces and follows 

P. 7, 11. 4, 5. knowledge of truth belief of truth] The Latin brings out 
more clearly the distinction intended here. Knowledge is rendered 
by ' veritatis cognitio, quae praesentem earn sistit : ' belief by ' veritatis 
receptio cum assensu, quae est ipsius fruitio et amplexus.' 

1. 8. the light of the sense] Genesis i. 3. 

1. 8. the light of reason] Genesis i. 26, 27. 

Conf. ' Thou, O Father ! who gavest the Visible Light as the first 
born of thy creatures, and didst pour into man the Intellectual Light 
as the top and consummation of thy workmanship, be pleased to 
protect and govern this work.' The Writer's Prayer ; Works, vii. 


Closely resembling this is the prayer with which Bacon ends his 
' distributio operis : ' ' Itaque tu Pater, qui lucem visibilem primitias 
creaturae dedisti, et lucem intellectualem ad fastigium operum tuorum 
in faciem hominis inspirasti,' &c. Works, i. 145. 

1. 13. The poet] i. e. Lucretius. 

1. 13. the sect otherwise inferior] i. e. the Epicurean sect, so 
judged either as morally inferior or as having a less eminent series 
of literary advocates and professors. 


The passage, which Bacon has paraphrased rather than translated, 

'Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis, 
E terra magnum alterius spectare laborem; 
Non quia vexari quemquam est jucunda voluptas, 
Sed, quibus ipse malis careas, quia cernere suave est. 
Suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri 
Per campos instructa, tua sine parte pericli : 
Sed nil dulcius est bene quam munita tenere 
Edita doctrina sapientum templa serena ; 
Despicere unde queas alios, passimque videre 
Errare, atque viam palanteis quaerere vitae, 
Certare ingenio, contendere nobilitate, 
Nocteis atque dies niti praestante labore 
Ad summas emergere opes, rerumque potiri.' 

Lib. ii. 1-13. 

1. 22. with pity c.] Conf. the description, in the New Atlantis, 
of one of the Fathers of Salomon's House : ' He was a man of middle 
stature and age, comely of person, and had an aspect as if he pitied 
men.' Works, iii. 154. I quote this as a further bye-instance of the 
relation in which Bacon himself stood, or affected to stand, towards 
his fellow-men. 

P. 8, 1. 8. and therefore Montaigne saith &c.] Montaigne does 
not say it; he quotes it as the saying of an ancient: 'J'ay souvent 
considere d'ou pouvoit naistre cette coustume, que nous observons 
si religieusement, de nous sentir plus aigrement offensez du 
reproche de ce vice, qui nous est si ordinaire, que de nul aultre ; 
et que ce soit 1'extreme injure qu'on nous puisse faire de parole, 

que de nous reprocher le mensonge C'est un vilain vice 

que le mentir, et qu'un ancien peinct bien honteusement quand 
il diet que " c'est donner tesmoignage de mespriser Dieu, et quand et 
quand de craindre les homines " ; il n'est pas possible d'en representer 
plus richement 1'horreur, la vilite, et le desreglement ; car que peut- 
on imaginer plus vilain que d'estre couard a 1'endroict des hommes, 
et brave a 1'endroict de Dieu ? ' Montaigne, Essays, lib. ii. 18. 

The 'ancien' is Plutarch. 'He that deceiveth his enemie, and 
breaketh his oath to him : sheweth plainely that he feareth him, but 
that he careth not for God.' Life of Lysander, North's trans, p. 450. 
We learn from Bodin that the sensitiveness to the charge of lying, 
of which Montaigne speaks, had been of recent growth among the 
French : ' But now, when as to have the lie given one was neither by 
the Romans thought to be a thing injurious, neither that our auncestors 
had allowed the combat for the lie given to another man : it began in 
our age to be a thing not only contumelious, but even capitall also : 
and that especially in the time of Francis the first the French king, 


who in a great assembly of his greatest peers one day said, that he 

was not an honest man which could endure the lie given him 

So that none of the nobilitie or martiall men which will put up with 
the lie is accounted of as a man of any worth or valour, but as of a 
base or vile fellow.' Bodin, Republic, iv. cap. 7, Knolles' trans. 

Bacon speaks elsewhere to much the same effect : ' It would 
have been thought a madness amongst the ancient lawgivers 

to have set a punishment upon the lie given The civilians, 

they dispute whether an action of injury lie for it, and rather 
resolve the contrary. And Francis the first of France, who 
first set on and stamped this disgrace so deep, is taxed by the 
judgment of all wise writers for beginning the vanity of it : for it was 
he, that when he had himself given the lie and defy to the Emperor, 
to make it current in the world, said in a solemn assembly, That he 
was no honest man that would bear the lie; which was the fountain 
of this new learning.' Charge touching Duels, Letters and Life, 
iv. 406. 

1. 17. it being foretold &c.] Luke xviii. 8. The words, it need 
hardly be said, do not bear the sense which Bacon has given them. 
I think it probable that he had in his mind, here, an indistinct 
recollection of a passage in Cyprian's De Unitate Ecclesiae. It is 
clear from several passages in Essay iii. that he had read this treatise. 
Conf. ' Sic in nobis emarcuit vigor fidei, sic credentium robur elanguit. 
Et idcirco Dominus tempora nostra respiciens, in Evangelio suo dicit: 
Filius hominis cum venerit, putas inveniet fidem in terra ? Videmus 
fieri quod ille praedixit. In Dei timore, in lege justitiae, in dilec- 
tione, in opere fides nulla est,' &c. Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiae, 
sec. 26. 



MEN fear death as children fear to go in the dark ; and 
as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, 
so is the other. Certainly, the contemplation of death, 
as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy 
and religious ; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto 
nature, is weak. Yet in religious meditations there is 


sometimes mixture of vanity and of superstition. You 
shall read, in some of the friars' books of mortification, 
that a man should think with himself what the pain is 
if he have but his finger's end pressed or tortured, and 
thereby imagine what the pains of death are, when the 
whole body is corrupted and dissolved ; when many times 
death passeth with less pain than the torture of a limb ; 
for the most vital parts are not the quickest of sense. And 
by him that spake only as a philosopher, and natural 
man a , it was well said, Pompa mortis magis ferret quam 10 
mors ipsa. Groans and convulsions, and a discoloured 
face, and friends weeping, and blacks and obsequies b , and 
the like, show death terrible. It is worthy the observing, 
that there is no passion in the mind of man so weak, but it 
mates c and masters the fear of death ; and therefore death 
is no such terrible enemy when a man hath so many 
attendants about him that can win the combat of him d . 
Revenge triumphs over death ; love slights it ; honour 
aspireth to it ; grief flieth to it ; fear pre-occupateth e it ; 
nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, 20 

* natural man] i. e. not from a reli- And, ' The Queen's funeral is like to be 

gious point of view. Lat. homo am- deferred for want of money to buy the 

malts. In contrast to the religious blacks.' Lorkin to Sir T. Puckering, 

meditations of which Bacon has just April 17, 1619, Court and Times of 

before been speaking. For the phrase, James I, vol. ii. 

conf. ' It is true, Eupolis, that the c but it mates] i. e. over-powers, 

principal object which I have before Lat. quin superet. Conf. ' The great 

mine eyes, in that whereof I speak, is question is how to miss or how to 

piety and religion. But nevertheless, mate the Flemings : how to pass by 

if I should speak only as a natural them or how to pass over them.' 

man, I should persuade the same Letters and Life, vi. 73. And, Essay 

thing. For there is no such enterprise 15 : 'In great oppressions, the same 

at this day for secular greatness and things that do provoke the patience, 

terrene honour as a war upon infidels.' do withal mate the courage.' 
Works, vii. p. 20. d of hint] i.e. of death. Lat. quiin 

b blacks and obsequies] The Latin certamine illam vincant. 
combines these two words in atrata e pre-occupatetli\ i.e. anticipates. Lat. 

futiera. For the old substantival use antidpat. Conf. ' Only I wish your 

of ' blacks,' conf. Lordship will not pre-occupate despair, 

' Ere blacks were bought for his own but put trust, next to God, in her 

funeral.' Majesty's grace.' Letters and Life, ii. 

Ben Jonson, Epigrams 44, 1. 3. p. 200. And, 'I will pre-occupate 


pity (which is the tenderest f of affections) provoked many 
to die out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as 
the truest sort of followers. Nay, Seneca adds, niceness g 
and satiety: Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris ; mori velle, non 
tantum fortis, aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest. A man 
would die, though he were neither valiant nor miserable, 
only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft over 
and over. It is no less worthy to observe, how little 
alteration in good spirits h the approaches of death make : 

10 for they appear to be the same men till the last instant. 
Augustus Caesar died in a compliment ; Livia, conjugii 
nostri memor, vive et vale. Tiberius in dissimulation, as 
Tacitus saith of him, Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non 
dissimulatio^ deserebant: Vespasian in a jest, sitting upon 
the stool, Ut puto Deusfio: Galba with a sentence, Fen, si 
ex re sit populi Romani, holding forth his neck ; Septimius 
Severus in dispatch, Adeste, si quid mihi restat agendum ; 
and the like. Certainly the Stoics bestowed too much 
cost upon death, and by their great preparations made it 

20 appear more fearful. Better saith he, qui finem vitae 
extremum inter munera ponat naturae. It is as natural to 
die as to be born ; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is 
as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit 
is like one that is wounded in hot blood, who, for the time, 
scarce feels the hurt ; and therefore a mind fixed and bent 
upon somewhat that is good doth avert the dolours of 
death ; but, above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is 
Nunc dimittis, when a man hath obtained worthy ends and 

what he will rather say, That other that are against it audaciously.' Essay 

affairs of weight do take him up.' 15. 

Racket's Life of Abp. Williams, Part B niceness] i. e. fastidiousness. Conf. 

I> P- 34- ' The Spartans were a nice people in 

' the ienderesf\ i. e. the weakest. point of naturalization.' Essay 29, 

Conf. ' Especially if in those disput- p. 207. 

ings, they which are for the direction h in good spirits'] Lat. in animo gene- 

speak fearfully and tenderly, and those roso etforti. 


expectations. Death hath this also, that it openeth the 
gate to good fame, and extinguished! envy: Extinctus 
amabitur idem. 


P. 12, 1. 1. the dark] ' Ilia ad quae'transituri sumus nescimus qualia 
sint, et horremus ignota. Naturalis praeterea tenebrarum metus est, 
in quas adductura mors creditu^ Seneca, .Epist. Ixxxii. 

1. 2. increased with tales] Conf. ' Mors*contemni debet magis quam 
solet. multa enim de ilia credimus : multorum ingeniis certatum est 
ad augendam ejus infamiam. Descriptus est career infernus et per- 
petua nocte oppressa regio, in qua ingens janitor Orci, 
Ossa super recubans antro semesa cruento, 
Aeternum latrans exsangues territat umbras.' 

Seneca, Epist. Ixxxii. 

I give this, out of a host of similar passages, as having most 
probably been present to Bacon's mind. 

1. 5. the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature] The Latin gives 
here ut est naturae debitum, as though the sense of the English were 
since it is a tribute due unto nature. In the edition of 1612, the cor 
responding passage is ' the fear of it for it self.' This agrees more 
nearly with the English text of the later edition than with the render 
ing in the Latin. 

For the sense, conf. ' Mors naturae lex est, mors tributum officium- 
que mortalium.' Seneca, Nat. Quaest. lib. vi. sub finem. 

P. 13, 1. i. You shall read &c.] I have looked through some scores 
of the friars' books of mortification, but I have not found any such 
passage as that to which Bacon refers. The nearest approach to it is 
in St. Luis of Granada's chapter on Death, translated in vol. ii. of the 
Ascetic Library by Orby Shipley. The usual purpose of this class 
of writers seems to be to excite fear not about death but about what 
may happen after death, and on this latter they enlarge not un- 
frequently in terms such as those of which Bacon speaks in the text. 
By the early Christian writers death itself is more often hailed as a 
welcome release. Later writers, addressing themselves to the rich 
and the luxurious, insist rather on the losses which it involves and 
on the pleasures which it cuts short. 

1. 10. Pompa mortis &c.] The reference appears to be to Seneca. 
' Tolle istam pompam sub qua lates et stultos territas : mors es quam 
nuper servus meus quam ancilla contempsit.' Epist. xxiv. For 
this and for the next sentence conf. also Montaigne, Ess. lib. i. 
chap. 19 : ' Je crois, a la verite, que ce sont ces mines et appareils 


effroyables dequoy nous 1'entournons, qui nous font plus de peur 
qu'elle : une toute nouvelle forme de vivre ; les cris des meres, des 
femmes, et des enfants : la visitation de personnes estonnees et 
transies ; 1'assistance d'un nombre de valets pasles et esplorez ; une 
chambre sans jour ; des cierges allumez ; nostre chevet assiege de 
medecins et de prescheurs ; somme, tout horreur et tout effroy 
autour de nous ; nous voyla desja ensepvelis et enterrez. Les 
enfants ont peur de leurs amis mesmes, quand ils les voyent 
masquez : aussi avons nous. II fault oster le masque aussi bien des 
choses que des personnes : oste qu'il sera, nous ne trouverons au 
dessoubs que cette mesme mort qu'un valet ou simple chambriere 
passerent dernierement sans peur.' 

1. 18. honour aspireth to it} The edition of 1612 adds here 
' delivery from ignominy chooseth it.' It is obvious to remark that, in 
the : interval between the two editions, Bacon had incurred ignominy 
and had not chosen death. The reading of the earlier edition is kept 
and somewhat strengthened in the Latin translation of the later one 
metus ignominiae digit. 

1. 19. fear pre-occupateth if\ Conf. Seneca, Epist. xxiv : ' His 

adjicias et illud tantam hominum imprudentiam esse, imo 

dementiam, ut quidam timore mortis cogantur ad mortem ' ; and 
Epist. Ixx : ' stultitia est timore mortis mori ' ; and Lucretius iii. 
79 82 : 

' Et saepe usque adeo, mortis formidine, vitae 
Percipit humanos odium lucisque videndae, 
Ut sibi consciscant maerenti pectore letum, 
Obliti fontem curarum hunc esse timorem.' 

1. 20. Oth6\ Vide Tacitus, Hist. ii. 49 : ' Quidam militum juxta 
rogam (Othonis) interfecere se, non noxa neque ob metum, sed 
aemulatione decoris et caritate principis. Ac postea promisee 
Bedriaci Placentiae aliisque in castris celebratum id genus mortis ' ; 
and Suetonius, Otho, cap. xii : sub finem : ' Multi praesentium 

militum statim nee procul a rogo vim suae vitae adtulerunt. 

Multi et absentium adcepto nuntio prae dolore armis inter se ad 
internecionem concurrerunt.' 

P. 14, 1. 3. Seneca adds\ These are not the words of Seneca. He 
quotes them, with approval, from an address, by amicus noster Stoicus, 
to a young man who had called a council of his friends to decide 
whether he should put himself to death. The exact words are 
' Cogita quamdiu jam idem facias. Cibus, somnus, libido : per hunc 
circulum curritur. Mori velle non tantum prudens, et fortis aut 
miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest.' Epist. Ixxvii. 

1. n. Augustus Ccesar compliment] This is no account of the 
scene as Suetonius describes it 'Omnibus deinde dimissis, dum 


advenientes ab urbe de Drusi filia aegra interrogat, repente in 
osculis Liviae et in hac voce defecit : Livia nostri conjugii memor 
vive, ac vale.' Augustus, cap. 99. There is something more than 
compliment here. 

1. 12. Tiberius} 'Jam Tiberium corpus, jam vires, nondum dis- 
simulatio deserebat.' Tac. Ann. vi. 50. 

1. 14. Vespasian} ' Ac ne in metu quidem, et periculo mortis 
extremo, abstinuit jocis. . . . Prima quoque morbi adcessione, Uf, 
inquit, puto, Deus fio.' Suetonius, Vespasian, cap. 23. 'ETmSij T e 
f-n-itTTevaev on TfXevrjjo-ef, f(pr], Qeos TJ$T) yivo^ai. Dio Cassius Ixvi. 17. 

It does not appear that this jest was uttered when Vespasian was 
dying Suetonius says expressly prima morbi adcessione. 

1. 15. Galbd\ This is Plutarch's account. ' The traiterous 
souldiers flew upon him, and gave him many a wound : and Galba 
holding out his neck unto them, bad them strike hardily, if it were 
to do their country good.' North's trans, p. 1051. Tacitus and Sue 
tonius speak less certainly. ' Extremam ejus vocem, ut cuique odium 
aut admiratio fuit, varie prodidere. Alii suppliciter interrogasse 
quid mali meruisset ; paucos dies exsolvendo donativo deprecatum. 
Plures obtulisse ultro percussoribus jugulum : agerent ac ferirent, 
si ita e re publica videretur. Non interfuit occidentium quid diceret.' 
Tac. Hist. i. 41. ' Sunt qui tradant ad primum tumultum proclamasse 
eum, Quid agitis, commilitones? ego vester sum, et vos mei. Plures 
autem prodiderunt obtulisse ultro jugulum : et ut hoc agerent ac 
ferirent, quando ita videretur, hortatum.' Suet. Galba, cap. 20. 

1. 16. SeptimiUS Severus} To re av/rai> OVTWS (vepybs eyeWro, axrre 
Ka\ a.7ro\lsvxa>i> dvcxfrdeyt-acrdai, "Ayere, Sore ft TI npa^ai e^oynez/. Dio CaSs. 

Ixxvi. 17. The same might have been said with equal truth about 
Vespasian ; of whom Dio Cassius records : rS>v de larpav errm/i<ii>T<oi> 

ai/Tw on TTJ T a\\rj SiaiYj; 6/i.oia vo<r>v e^pr/ro, Kal Triivra ra irpo(ri]KovTa TIJ 
apxfi fTTparre, Toy avroKparopa Set, e<pr), eWaira dirodvrj&Kfiv. Dio Cass. 
Ixvi. 17. 

1. 18. the Stoics bestowed &c.] This is certainly true about Seneca, 
who returns to the subject again and again with most minute and 
tedious iteration. 

Conf. Montaigne 'A veoir les efforts que Seneque se donne pour se 
preparer contre la mort ; a le veoir suer d'ahan pour se roider et 
pour s'asseurer, et se debattre si long temps en cette perche, j'eusse 
esbransle sa reputation, s'il ne 1'eust, en mourant, trez vaillamment 
maintenue.' Essays, bk. iii. chap. 12. And ' si nous avons sceu vivre 
constamment et tranquillement, nous sgaurons mourir de mesme. 
Us s'en vanteront tant qu'il leur plaira, tola philosophorum vita com- 
mentatio mortis est; mais il m'est advis que c'est bien le bout, non 
pourtant le but, de la vie ; c'est sa fin, son extremite, non pourtant 
son object.' Ibid. Bacon seems to have had this last passage from 


1 8 ESSAY II. 

Montaigne in his mind, and to have taken the quotation in it as 
further proof of the charge which he brings generally against the 
Stoics. There is a passage in the De Augmentis, not making any 
reference to the Stoics by name, but 'otherwise very like the Essay, 
and clearly founded upon the quotation in Montaigne. ' Mortis formi- 
dinem medendo augent. Etenim cum nihil aliud fere vitam humanam 
faciant quam mortis quandam praeparationem et disciplinam, quo- 
modo fieri possit ut ille hostis mirum in modum non videatur 
terribilis, contra quern muniendi nullus sit finis?' Works i. 726. 
The proof is not happily chosen. The quotation is not from Seneca 
or from any Stoical writer, but from Cicero, Tusc. Disp. i. 30. It 
is intended to be a translation from the Phaedo, and its language, 
however doubtful in itself, does not, as the context shews, bear out 
the remarks which Montaigne makes upon it. Commentatio mortis 
is a preparation not for dying but for death, an anticipation and 
part-accomplishment of the change which will be complete at death 
the final freedom of the soul from the restraints and degradations 
imposed upon it by the body. 

Nor are the Stoics, as a rule, open to the charge which Bacon 
brings against them in the Essay. When they argue against the 
fear of death, their drift is the same as Seneca's, but they handle 
their subject in a more manly and robust style, more briefly and 
very much more effectively. 

1. 20. qui vitam &c.] The correct words are 

' Qui spatium vitae extremum inter munera ponat 
Naturae.' Juv. Sat. x. 358. 

1. 22. to a little infant] Conf. Quarles' Emblems, ii. 13 : 
' The slender debt to nature's quickly paid, 
Discharged, perhaps, with greater ease than made.' 

1. 23. He that dies &c.] Conf. ' Celuy qui meurt en la meslee, les 
armes a la main, il n'estudie pas lors la mort, il ne la sent, ny ne la 
considere ; 1'ardeur du combat 1'emporte.' Montaigne, Essays, bk. 
iii. chap. 4. 

1. 28. Nunc dimittis] Luke ii. 29. 

P. 15, 1. 2. Extinctus &c.] Hor. Epist. bk. ii. i. 14. So too Ovid, 
Amores, lib. i. xv. 39 : 

' Pascitur in vivis livor ; post fata quiescit, 

Cum suus ex merito quemque tuetur honos.' 



RELIGION being the chief band of human society, it is 
a happy thing when itself is well contained* within the 
true band of unity. The quarrels and divisions about 
religion were evils unknown to the heathen. The reason 
was, because the religion of the heathen consisted rather 
in rites and ceremonies, than in any constant belief: for 
you may imagine what kind of faith theirs was, when the 
chief doctors and fathers of their church were the poets. 
But the true God hath this attribute, that he is a jealous 
God ; and therefore his worship and religion will endure 10 
no mixture nor partner. We shall therefore speak a few 
words concerning the unity of the church ; what are the 
fruits thereof; what the bounds ; and what the means. 

The fruits of unity (next unto the well-pleasing of God, 
which is all in all) are two; the one towards those that 
are without the church, the other towards those that are 
within. For the former, it is certain that heresies and 
schisms are of all others the greatest b scandals : yea, more 
than corruption of manners : for as in the natural body 
a wound or solution of continuity is worse than a corrupt 2 
humour, so in the spiritual : so that nothing doth so much 
keep men out of the church, and drive men out of the 
church, as breach of unity: and therefore whensoever it 

a contained^ i. e. held together. Lat. ' Of all other affections it is the most 

ut et ipsa astringatur. Conf. ' I have importune and continual.' Essay 9. 
marvelled sometimes at Spain, how ' In the midst of them all the sun 

they clasp and contain so large do- taketh his course, as being the greatest 

minions.' Essay 29, p. 208. and most puissant of all the rest.' 

b of all others the greatest] i. e. Pliny, Nat. Hist. bk. ii. chap. 6 (Hoi- 
greater than any of the others a land's trans.). 

graecism not unfrequent in Bacon's ' For very few there be among them 

time. Conf. e.g. ' I do now publish my who understand and know the cause 

Essays ; which of all my other works of this ceremony, which is of all other 

have been most current.' Dedication the smallest.' Plutarch, Morals, p. 1049 

to ed. of 1625. (Holland's trans.). 

C 2 


cometh to that pass that one saith, Ecce in Deserto, another 
saith, Ecce in penetralibus ; that is, when some men seek 
Christ in the conventicles of heretics, and others in an 
outward face of a church, that voice had need continually 
to sound in men's ears, nolite exire, go not out. The 
doctor of the Gentiles (the propriety of whose vocation 
drew him to have a special care of those without) saith, 
If a heathen come in, and hear you speak with several 
tongues, will he not say that you are mad ? and certainly 

10 it is little better when atheists and profane persons do 
hear of so many discordant and contrary opinions in re 
ligion. It doth avert them from the church, and maketh 
them to sit down in the chair of the scorners. It is but 
a light thing d to be vouched in so serious a matter, but yet 
it expresseth well the deformity. There is a master of 
scoffing that in his catalogue of books of a feigned library 
sets down this title of a book, The Morris-Dance of 
Heretics : for, indeed, every sect of them hath a diverse 
posture or cringe by themselves, which cannot but move 

20 derision in worldlings and depraved politics e , who are apt 
to contemn holy things. 

As for the fruit towards those that are within, it is peace, 
which containeth infinite blessings; it establisheth faith; 
it kindleth charity; the outward peace of the church dis- 
tilleth into peace of conscience, and it turneth the labours 
of writing and reading of controversies into treaties f of 
mortification and devotion. 

c propriety] i.e. property in the logical tence. For a parallel to this use, conf. 

sense of the word ; specially. Lat. e. g. 'It is a trivial grammar-school 

citjus vocatio et ntissio propria et deman- text, but yet worthy a wise man's 

data. Conf. ' Man did give names consideration. Question was asked 

unto other creatures in Paradise, as of Demosthenes/ &c. Essay 12, 1. 

they were brought before him, accord- i. 

ing unto their proprieties.' Works, e politics] i. e. politicians. Lat. poli- 

iii. 264. tici. The word occurs frequently. 

d It is but a light thing &c.] These f treaties] i. e. treatises. So, in the 

words refer to the passage from Rabe- opening words of the third part of the 

lais, which follows in the next sen- Homily against disobedience and wilful 


Concerning the bounds of unity, the true placing of 
them importeth exceedingly e. There appear to be two 
extremes : for to certain zealants h all speech of pacification 
is odious. Is it peace, Jehu ? What hast thou to do with 
peace ? turn thee behind me. Peace is not the matter, but 
following and party. Contrariwise, certain Laodiceans and 
lukewarm persons think they may accommodate points of 
religion by middle ways, and taking part of both, and 
witty 1 reconcilements, as if they would make an arbitra 
ment between God and man. Both these extremes are to 10 
be avoided ; which will be done if the league of Christians, 
penned by our Saviour himself, were in the two cross 
clauses thereof soundly and plainly expounded : He that 
is not with us, is against us ; and again, He that is not 
against us, is with us ; that is, if the points fundamental 
and of substance in religion were truly discerned and dis 
tinguished from points not merely k of faith, but of opinion, 
order, or good intention. This is a thing may seem to 
many a matter trivial, and done already; but if it were done 
less partially 1 , it would be embraced more generally. 20 

Of this I may give only this advice, according to my 

rebellion 'As I have in the first part witty.' The Latin, in both passages, is 

of this treatise shewed unto you the ingeniosus. 

doctrine of the holy Scriptures .... k not merely] i. e. not absolutely, not 

and in the second part of the same entirely. The Latin gives simply quae 

treaty confirmed the same doctrine by non sunt ex fide. Conf. Essay 58, 

notable examples,' &c. ' They do not merely dispeople and 

e importeth exceedingly] i. e. is of ex- destroy ' : where the Latin gives popu- 

ceeding importance. Lat. magnipror- lum penitus non absorbent autdestruunt. 

sus est momenti. The verb is used in 1 less partially] i.e. with less of party 

a neuter and in an active sense. Conf. feeling and aim. Conf. ' The fourth 

'Nay, number itself in armies importeth and last occasion of these controver- 

not much.' Essay 29. sies .... is the partial affectation and 

' It is worthy the consideration how imitation of foreign churches.' Letters 

this may import England.' Works, and Life, i. p. 84. The apparent anti- 

vi. 78. thesis in the text between ' partially' 

h sealants] i.e. zealots. Lat. homi- and 'generally' obscures the sense of 

nibus zelo perfervido. It appears to be the English. The Latin is clear 

formed from the Italian zelante. verum si hoc ipsum minore partium 

1 witty] here = ingenious, as in Essay studio fieret, tnajore etiatn consensu 

50, ' Histories make men wise ; poets, reciperetur. 


small model m . Men ought to take heed of rending God's 
church by two kinds of controversies ; the one is, when 
the matter of the point controverted is too small and light, 
not worth the heat and strife about it, kindled only by con 
tradiction ; for, as it is noted by one of the fathers, Christ's 
coat indeed had no seam, but the church's vesture was of 
divers colours ; whereupon he saith, In veste varietas sif, 
scissura non sit; they be two things, unity and uniformity. 
The other is, when the matter of the point controverted is 

10 great, but it is driven to an over great subtilty and obscu 
rity, so that it becometh a thing rather ingenious than sub 
stantial. A man that is of judgment and understanding 
shall sometimes hear ignorant men differ, and know well 
within himself that those which so differ mean one thing, 
and yet they themselves would never agree : and if it 
come so to pass in that distance of judgment which is 
between man and man, shall we not think that God above, 
that knows the heart, doth not n discern that frail men, in 
some of their contradictions, intend the same thing, and 

20 accepteth of both ? The nature of such controversies is 
excellently expressed by St. Paul, in the warning and pre 
cept that he giveth concerning the same ; Devita profanas 
vocum novitates, et oppositiones falsi nominis scientiae. Men 
create oppositions which are not, and put them into new 

m model &c.] These words pro- The Latin version, however, ren- 

bably mean as far as the small scale ders the word by pro captfts nostri 

of the present writing allows. So Dr. tenuitate, a piece of modesty hardly 

Rawley, stating his reason for pub- in the strain of one who, at the 

lishing some of Bacon's minor writings, age of 29, had already assumed au- 

saj'S that he did it ' to satisfy the desires thority to settle the controversies of 

of some who held it unreasonable that the Church. Letters and Life, i. 74 

any delineations of that pen, though et seqq. 

in never so small a model, should n doth not} This repetition of the 

not be shewn to the world.' Works, negative is not unusual with Bacon, 

vii. 6. Conf. e. g. 'A corporation can have no 

' That gigantic state of mind which wife, nor a corporation can have no 

possesseth the troublers of the world, son.' Works, vii. 668. 

such as was Lucius Sylla, and infinite ' I have no enemies, nor I have 

other in smaller model.' Works, Hi. nothing that anybody should long for.' 

425. Letters and Life, v. 215. 


terms, so fixed as , whereas the meaning ought to govern 
the term, the term in effect governeth the meaning. There 
be also two false peaces, or unities : the one, when the 
peace is grounded but upon an implicit ignorance p , for all 
colours will agree in the dark : the other, when it is pieced 
up upon a direct admission of contraries in fundamental 
points : for truth and falsehood, in such things, are like the 
iron and clay in the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image ; they 
may cleave, but they will not incorporate. 

Concerning the means of procuring unity, men must 10 
beware that, in the procuring or muniting q of religious 
unity, they do not dissolve and deface the laws of charity 
and of human society. There be two swords amongst 
Christians, the spiritual and temporal ; and both have their 
due office and place in the maintenance of religion : but 
we may not take up the third sword, which is Mahomet's 
sword, or like unto it : that is, to propagate religion by 
wars, or by sanguinary persecutions to force consciences ; 
except it be in cases of overt scandal, blasphemy, or in 
termixture of practice r against the state ; much less to 20 
nourish seditions; to authorize conspiracies and rebellions; 
to put the sword into the people's hands, and the like, 
tending to the subversion of all government, which is the 
ordinance of God. For this is but to dash the first table 

as] Here, and elsewhere passim = 1 muniting]\. e. fortifying. Lai.dunt 

that. muniant. Conf. ' The more gross and 

P implicit ignorance] Probably, an tangible parts do contract and serre 

ignorance content to admit what is put themselves together ; both to avoid 

before it without understanding what vacuum (as they call it) and also to 

it means. The epithet is commonly munite themselves against the force of 

applied not to ignorance but to faith. the fire which they have suffered.' 

Bacon so uses it in a passage very like Works, ii. 374. 

the text' Reason teaches us that in r of practice] Lat. machinationis. 

ignorance and implied belief it is easy The word, with Bacon, has usually 

to agree, as colours agree in the dark.' a sinister sense. Conf. e.g. 'A man 

Letters and Life, i. 165. It would .... should rest upon the soundness 

seem, therefore, that he puts much the and strength of his own courses, and 

same meaning on implicit ignorance not upon practice to circumvent others, 

and implicit belief. Letters and Life, i. 202. 


against the second ; and so to consider men as Christians, 
as we forget that they are men. Lucretius the poet, when 
he beheld the act of Agamemnon, that could endure the 
sacrificing of his own daughter, exclaimed : 

Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum. 

What would he have said, if he had known of the mas 
sacre in France, or the powder treason of England? He 
would have been seven times more epicure 8 and atheist 
than he was. For as the temporal sword is to be drawn 

10 with great circumspection in cases of religion, so it is a 
thing monstrous to put it into the hands of the common 
people; let that be left unto the Anabaptists and other 
furies. It was great blasphemy, when the devil said, I 
will ascend and be like the Highest; but it is greater 
blasphemy to personate* God, and bring him in saying, 
I will descend, and be like the prince of darkness : and 
what is it better, to make the cause of religion to descend 
to the cruel and execrable actions of murdering princes, 
butchery of people, and subversion of states and govern- 

20 ments ? Surely this is to bring down the Holy Ghost, 
instead of the likeness of a dove, in the shape of a vulture 
or raven ; and to set out of the bark of a Christian church 
a flag of a bark of pirates and assassins ; therefore it is 
most necessary that the church by doctrine and decree, 
princes by their sword, and all learnings, both Christian 
and moral, as by their Mercury rod, do damn and send 
to hell for ever those facts" and opinions tending to the 
support of the same ; as hath been already in good part 
done. Surely, in councils concerning religion, that council 

30 of the apostle would be x prefixed, Ira hominis non implet 

s epicure] i.e. epicurean. So passim. character to; to give him a part to 

Conf. e.g. ' For the opinion of Socrates play. Vide Essay 27, p. 192, note on 

is much upheld by the general consent 'person.' 

even of the Epicures themselves.' u facts'] i.e. deeds. Lat.facta. 

Works, iii. 426. * would be] i. e. ought to be. A 

* to personate] i. e. to assign a frequent use. Conf. e. g. ' The ex- 


justitiam Dei: and it was a notable observation of a 
wise father, and no less ingenuously confessed, that those 
which held and persuaded pressure of consciences were 
commonly interessed 7 therein themselves for their own 


P. 19, 1. 5. religion of the heathen] Conf. ' The religion of the heathen 
had no constant belief or confession, but left all to the liberty of 
argument.' Works, iii. 479. And ' The heathen religion was not 
only a worship of idols, but the whole religion was an idol in itself; 
for it had no soul, that is, no certainty of belief or confession ; as 
a man may well think considering the chief doctors of their church 
were the poets ; and the reason was because the heathen gods were 
no jealous gods, but were glad to be admitted into part, as they had 
reason.' Works, iii. 488. But all this is much too absolutely stated. 
It seems based on a reference to the religions of Greece and Rome. 
It is true of the Greeks that the ' chief doctors and fathers of their 
church were the poets.' It is untrue of the Romans, who had their 
regular colleges to preside over the national faith and worship. 
Again, it is true of the Romans that they easily admitted foreign 
deities to divine rank among their own ; it is untrue of the Greeks. 
With both peoples, there were quarrels and divisions about religion 
as soon as the accepted schemes of theology came to be called 
in question. If we look beyond Greece and Rome, the case is even 
more complete. Vide e. g. Juvenal, Sat. xv. 33 et seqq., where we 
have an account of the furious quarrels caused by the diversities of 
creed among the Egyptians. And Dio Cassius : Oi Aiywm-ioi . . . 6p;- 
aKtvovcri re yap TroXXa Trepicrcrdrara dvdpd>7T(ov, /cat irdhepovs vnep avrcav KOI- 
rrpbs aXXjjXovr, are p.r) naff ev dXXa /cat e/c rov evavricardTOV KOI avrois TipSiVTes 
Tiva, dvaipovvrai. xlii. 34- 

P. 20, 1. i. Ecce in Deserto, &c.] St. Matthew xxiv. 26. 

1. 3. an outward face of a church] This is probably a reference 
to the Church of Rome. In one of the many passages closely re 
sembling the text of the Essay, Bacon goes on to speak of there 

cess of diet in costly meats and terested. Conf. e.g. 'The mystical 

drinks fet from beyond the seas would communion of all faithful men is such 

be avoided.' Letters and Life, vi. 23. as maketh every one to be interessed 

'The voices of the dialogue would be in those precious blessings which any 

strong and manly.' Essay 37. one of them receiveth.' Hooker, 

y interessed] The old form of in- Eccl. Pol. bk. v, chap. 40, sec. 3. 


being ' no occasion for any pretended Catholic to judge us.' Letters 
and Life, i. 74. The nolite exire is used or adapted, elsewhere, as a 
scriptural injunction not to leave the Church of England, ' so ready 
are they to depart from the Church upon every voice,' p. 80. And 
this seems to be the sense which Bacon puts upon it here, in his 
exhortation against breach of unity. 

1. 8. If a heathen come] i Cor. xiv. 23. 

1. 13. to sit down &c.] Ps. i. i. 

1. 16. catalogue of books] La morisque des hereticques is the 
title of one of the books which Pantagruel finds in the library of 
St. Victor at Paris. Vide Pantagruel, ii. 7. 

P. 21, 1. 4. Is it peace &c.j 2 Kings ix. 18, 19. 

1. 6. Laodiceans] Revelation iii. 14-16. 

1. 12. in the two cross clauses] Lat. ' in clausulis illis quae primo 
intuitu inter se opponi videntur.' Vide St. Matthew xii. 30, St. Mark 
ix. 40. But the former text is incorrectly quoted. The words are 
' He that is not with me is against me.' Bacon writes elsewhere to 
the same effect as in the Essay, and with the same error in the 
quotation. Conf. ' Interest admodum pacis Ecclesiae, ut foedus 
Christianorum, a Servatore praescriptum, in duobus illis capitulis quae 
nonnihil videntur discrepantia, bene et clare explicetur : quorum 
alterum sic diffinit ; Qui non est nobiscum est contra nos ; alterum 
autem sic : Qui contra nos non est, nobiscum est : Ex his liquido 
patet esse nonnullos articulos, in quibus qui dissentit extra 
Foedus statuendus sit ; alios vero in quibus dissentire liceat, salvo 
Foedere. Vincula enim communionis Christianae ponuntur, Una 
Fides, Unum Baptisma, &c. ; non Unus Ritus, Una Opinio.' Works, 


P. 22, 1. 5. by one of the fathers'] The words quoted are from Au 
gustine, but in the passage where they occur there is nothing said 
about Christ's coat, frequent as the reference is to it in other passages. 
Nor do any of the references, here or elsewhere, bear the meaning 
which Bacon puts upon them. Vide Enarratio in Psal. xliv. (xlv. of 
our version) sec. 24, ' Vestitus reginae hujus quis est ? et pretiosus est, 
et varius est : sacramenta doctrinae in linguis omnibus variis . . . Quo- 
modo autem omnis varietas vestis in unitate concordat, sic et omnes 
linguae ad unam fidem. In veste varietas sit; scissura non sit. Ecce 
varietatem intelleximus de diversitate linguarum, et vestem intellexi- 
mus propter unitatem : in ipsa autem varietate aurum quod est ? 

Ipsa sapientia Varietas in linguis, aurum in sententiis.' Conf. 

also Enarratio ii. in Psal. xxi : ' Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea . . . et 
super vestimentum meum miserunt sortem. Erat ibi tunica, dicit 
evangelista, desuper texta. Ergo de caelo, ergo a patre, ergo a 
spiritu sancto. Quae est ista tunica nisi charitas quam nemo di- 
videre potest ? Quae est ista tunica nisi unitas ? ' 


Also, in Joannis Evangelium, Tractatus 13 : ' Erat ibi tunica : 
videamus qualis : desuper texta. Desuper texta tunica quid signi- 
ficat nisi charitatem ? desuper texta tunica quid significat nisi 
unitatem? Hanc tunicam attende, quam nee persecutores Christi 
diviserunt.' And Tractatus 119: 'Tunica vero ilia sortita omnium 
partium significat unitatem, quae charitatis vinculo continetur .... 
Inconsutilis autem, ne aliquando dissuatur: et ad unum pervenit, 
quia in unum omnes colligit.' 

The subject is similarly treated in Sermo ccxviii. cap. 9 and in 
Sermo cclxv. De Ascensione Domini, cap. 6. In several passages 
of Bernard we find the same fanciful interpretation, but neither 
in Bernard nor in Augustine are there any excuses made for dif 
ferences of opinion on the most minute points of doctrine or church 
polity. Bernard, e. g., rebuking the jealousies of monastic orders and 
their quarrels over the colours of their dresses, says, ' et hac ratione 
in tota Ecclesia (quae utique tarn pluribus tamque dissimilibus variatur 
ordinibus, utpote Regina quae in Psalmo legitur circumamicta varieta- 
ftbus) nulla pax, nulla prorsus concordia esse putabitur .... Non sum 
tarn hebes ut non agnoscam tunicam Joseph, non illius qui liberavit 
Aegyptum, sed qui salvavit mundum .... Notissima quippe est 
quia polymita, id est pulcherrima varietate distincta .... Recog- 
nosce, omnipotens pater, earn quam fecisti Christo tuo polymitam, 
dando quosdam apostolos, quosdam autem prophetas, alios vero 
evangelistas,' &c., &c. And again : ' Audi quomodo polymitam : 
Divisiones, ait, gratiarum sunt, idem autem spiritus ; et divisiones 
operationum sunt, idem vero Dominus. Deinde diversis enumer- 
atis charismatibus, tanquam variis tunicae coloribus, quibus con- 
stet earn esse polymitam, ut ostendat etiam esse inconsutilem 
et desuper contextam per totum, adjungit. Haec autem operatur 
unus atque idem Spiritus, dividens singulis prout vult.' (Bernardi) 
Apologia ad Guillelmum, cap. iii. Conf. also Epistola 334, Contra 
Abaelardum. Conf. also ' Hoc unitatis sacramentum, hoc vinculum 
concordiae inseparabiliter cohaerentis ostenditur quando in Evangelic 
tunica Domini Jesu Christi non dividitur omnino nee scinditur .... 
Loquitur ac dicit Scriptura divina ; De tunica autem, quia de superiore 
parte non consutilis, sed per totum textilis fuerit, dixerunt ad invicem : 
Non scindamus illam, sed sortiamur de ea cujus sit. . . . Possidere non 
potest indumentum Christi qui scindit et dividit Ecclesiam Christi.' 
Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiae, sec vii. 

The illustration is a favourite one with Bacon. Conf. e. g. ' In this 
point the rule holds which was pronounced by an ancient father, 
touching the diversity of rites in the Church : for finding the vesture 
of the queen (in the psalm) which did prefigure the Church, was of 
divers colours, and finding again that Christ's coat was without 
a seam, he concludeth well, In veste varietas sit, scissura non sit' 


Letters and Life, iii. 97. And again : " So we see the coat of our 
Saviour was entire without seam, and so is the doctrine of the 
Scriptures in itself; but the garment of the Church was of divers 
colours and yet not divided.' Works, iii. 482. And, ' for matter of 
division and breach of unity, it is not without a mystery that Christ's 
coat had no seam ; nor no more should the Church if it were possible.' 
Letters and Life, iv. 268. 

1. 22. Devita &c.] i Timothy vi. 20. 

1. 23. Men create &c.] An illustration of this may, perhaps, be 
found in the controversy between the Eastern and Western Churches 
on the procession of the Holy Spirit. Those who understand these 
subjects say that there was no difference of doctrine here ; the only 
difference was in the terms by which the same doctrine was ex 
pressed. Each Church, however, so interpreted the terms of the 
other as to make it appear that the difference between them was not 
verbal but real. The term thus in effect governed the meaning, 
and the breach of unity which followed was very largely due to 

Or, we may, perhaps, find an illustration in the terms Catholic and 
Protestant. They express an opposition which is not, since Catholics 
act the part of protesters against what they deem heretical views : 
while Protestants claim to be true members of the universal Church 
of Christ. But here, too, the term governs the meaning, and the 
Church of Rome, by help of the name Catholic, asserts an ex 
clusive claim to Catholicity, relegating all Protestant bodies to the 
merely negative position of protesters and nothing else. 

P. 23, 1. 8. Nebuchadnezzar's image] Daniel ii. 33 and 41. 

1. 13. There be two swords &c.] Conf. Latimer's first sermon. * In 
thys work! God hath ii swerdes, the one is a temporal swerde, the 
other a spiritual. The temporal swerde resteth in the handes of 
kynges, maiestrates and rulers under hym. . . . The spiritual swerde 
is in the hands of the ministers and preachers.' Arber's Reprints, 
p. 23. The reference here and in the Essay is to Luke xxii. 38. 
' They said, Lord, behold here are two swords. And He said unto 
them, It is enough.' This passage has been variously interpreted. 
Jerome, in Evangelium secundum Lucam, says briefly, 

' emat gladium id est Legem. 
duo gladii id sunt duae Leges.' 

So too Ambrose, Expositio in Lucam. 'Duos gladios discipuli 
protulerunt . . . unum novi, alterum veteris Testamenti . . . Denique 
dicit Dominus Satis est, quasi nihil desit ei quern utriusque Testa 
menti doctrina munierit.' 

Augustine writes in the same sense, and in very truculent 
language. Vide Contra Faustum Manichaeum, lib. xvi. 25. Bernard, 


writing to Pope Eugenius, pressing for help to the Eastern Church 
after loss in taking of Edessa, comes more near to the inter 
pretation which afterwards prevailed. ' Intraverunt aquae usque 
ad animam Christi : tacta est pupilla oculi ejus. Exserendus est 
nunc uterque gladius in passione Domini. . . . Per quern autem nisi 
per vos ? Petri uterque est, alter suo nutu, alter sua manu, quoties 
necesse est evaginandus. Et quidem de quo minus videbatur, de 
ipso ad Petrum dictum est Converte gladium tuum in vaginam. 
Ergo suus erat et ille sed non sua manu utique educendus.' Epistola, 
256. Conf. also De consideratione, lib. iv. cap. 3, and the address 
' Ad milites Templi. Exseratur gladius uterque fidelium in cervices 
inimicorum.' Cap. 3. 

The claim of the Church to the temporal sword becomes presently 
more distinct. John of Salisbury (Polycraticus, lib. iv. cap. 3) writes : 
' Hunc ergo gladium de manu ecclesiae accipit princeps, cum ipsa 
tamen gladium sanguinis omnino non habet. Habet tamen et istum, 
sed eo utitur per principis manum,' &c. 

In the next century, Gregory IX, writing to Germanus, Patriarch 
of Constantinople, on the supremacy of the Roman See, says : ' Illud 
tantum adjicimus quod utrumque gladium ad Romanum pertinere 
Pontificem ex evangelica lectione tenemus. Etenim loquente Jesu 
discipulis de acquisitione gladii spiritualis, illi duos ibi positos 
ostenderunt, quos Dominus dixit sufficere, ad coercionem videlicet 
spiritualis et corporalis offensae. Si materialem gladium pertinere 
concedis ad potentiam temporalem, attende quid in Matthaei 
evangelio Dominus dicat Petro Converte gladium tuum in locum 
suum dicendo tuum, materialem signavit gladium quo percusserat 
ille servum principis sacerdotum . . . Uterque igitur gladius Ecclesiae 
traditur, sed ab Ecclesia exercendus est unus, alius pro Ecclesia 
manu saecularis principis eximendus : unus a sacerdote, alius ad 
nutum sacerdotis administrandus a milite.' Baronius, Annales 
Ecclesiastici, in annum 1233. 

Boniface VIII in his Bull ' Unam Sanctam ' perpetuates the claim 
of the Church and bases it on the passage in St. Luke : ' In hac 
ejusque (sc. Petri) potestate duos esse gladios, spiritualem videlicet 
et temporalem, evangelicis dictis instruimur. Nam dicentibus 
Apostolis : ecce gladii duo hie : in ecclesia scilicet cum Apostoli 
loquerentur, non respondet dominus nimis esse sed satis . . . Uterque 
ergo in potestate Ecclesiae, spiritualis scilicet gladius et materialis : 
sed is quidem pro ecclesia, ille vero ab ecclesia exercendus: ille 
sacerdotis, is manu regum et militum, sed ad nutum et patientiam 
sacerdotis : oportet enim gladium esse sub gladio,' c., &c. Baronius, 
Annales Ecclesiastici, in annum 1302. 

The above is the locus classicus. It is curious and not unin- 
structive to contrast it with Jerome's earlier view, and with Latimer's 


at a later date. But Latimer was living in a reformed country and 
under a Tudor prince. 

1. 15. but we may not take] Bacon does not always use this 
language. In his Remembrance to Sir John Digby about the 
negociations for the Spanish Match, he instructs him to suggest 
'that it may be a beginning and seed (for the like actions before 
have had less beginnings) of a holy war against the Turk, where- 
unto it seems the events of time doth invite Christian kings,' &c., &c. 
Letters and Life, vi. 158. This is to take up the third sword and 
turn it against its proper owner, an even larger licence than that 
which the text of the Essay condemns. On the prohibition in the 
text conf. ' Nunc ilia est (quaestio) si uno religionis obtentu bellum 
inferri potest. Et hoc nego, et addo rationem : quia religionis jus 
hominibus cum hominibus proprie non est : itaque neque jus 
laeditur hominum ob diversam religionem : itaque nee bellum causa 
religionis. Religio erga Deum est ... Nihil igitur quaeritat homo 
violatum sibi ob aliam religionem.' Albericus Gentilis, De Jure 
Belli, lib. i. cap. 9, An bellum justum sit pro religione. 

1. 18. sanguinary] Whately calls attention to this qualifying 
epithet, as marking the imperfect views of Bacon on religious tolera 
tion. It seems, too, from the next clause, that 'in cases of overt 
scandal and blasphemy,' even sanguinary persecutions are allowable. 
The rule thus enlarged is quite broad enough to cover the In 
quisition itself. 

P. 24, 1. 5. Tantum religio &c.] Bk. i. 102. 

1. 12. Anabaptists.] The refusal of these sectaries to recognise 
the authority of the civil ruler, and their assertion of the equality of 
all men under an assumed Divine illumination, explain and bear out 
Bacon's reference to them in the text. That he had especially in his 
mind the authors of the great Anabaptist outbreak at Munster (1534) 
appears from the edition of 1612, where he speaks of them as ' the 
madmen of Munster.' 

Conf. also, ' The Anabaptists profess the pulling down of 

magistrates, and the monarchy of them that are inspired; and they 
can chaunt the Psalm To bind their kings in chains and their nobles in 
fetters of iron' Letters and Life, v. 166. 

1. 13. It was great blasphemy, when the devil said See.] The reference 
is to Isaiah xiv. 12-14 : 

' How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning : 
how art thou cut down to the ground which didst trouble the nations. 

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will 
exalt my throne above the throne of God : I will sit also upon the 
mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. 

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds ; I will be like the most 


This passage, suitably interpreted and enlarged, has been used to 
fill out the details of the otherwise untold story of the offence and fall 
of the rebel angels who kept not their first estate. 

Bacon in several places makes more or less distinct reference to it. 
Conf. Essay 13 : ' The desire of power in excess caused the angels to 
fall.' Also in De Augmentis, lib. vii. cap. 3 : ' Angeli, dum ad potentiam 
divinae parem aspirarent, praevaricati sunt et ceciderunt.' Works, 
i. 742. And in the Valerius Terminus, cap. i : ' The angel of light that 
was, when he presumed before his fall, said within himself, I will 
ascend and be like unto the Highest : not God, but the highest. To 
be like to God in goodness was no part of his emulation : know 
ledge, being in creation an angel of light, was not the want which 
did most solicit him : only because he was a minister he aimed at 
a supremacy : therefore his climbing or ascension was turned into a 
throwing down or a precipitation.' Works, iii. 217. 

Bacon had probably before his mind some passages of Thomas 
Aquinas : ' Diabolus peccavit appetendo similitudinem Dei quantum 
ad potentiam.' Sum. Theol. Secunda Secundae, Quaest. 163. 
Artie. II. Also in Pars Prima, Quaest. 63, Artie. Ill, we find a direct 
reference to the passage in Isaiah, with the remark added ' Appetiit 
finalem beatitudinem per suam virtutem habere, quod est proprium 
Dei,' afterwards expanded and made more precise by the words 
' appetiit aliquem principatum super alia habere, in quo etiam 
perverse voluit Deo assimilari.' 

The words in Isaiah are put into the mouth not of the devil, but 
of the King of Babylon (vid. v. 4). But it was an early patristic 
view that the devil is the speaker, and that the entire passage is 

Origen, Comment, in Joannem, torn. i. 13, clearly thus interprets 
it : AXXa Kal 6avp.dov(Tii> ol ayyeXoi Trjv eV* yrjs f(TOfj.fvr]v 8ic 
dpfjvrjv, TOV TTO\efj.iKov ^wpiou, fls o (KntiTtiiV fK TOV ovpavov 6 'E<oCT(popo? 6 
dvaTe\\a>v vnb 'lr)o~ov cruvrpi/Serni. The words here 6 E<ao-<p6pos 6 TTpati 
avare\\a>v stand in the LXX, in verse 12, where the English version 
gives ' Lucifer, son of the morning.' 

Again, in Jerome's translation of Origen, Homil. I in Ezechielem, 
sec. 3 (of which the Greek original is lost) we find : 'Vide consonan- 
tiam prophetici evangelicique sermonis. Prophetes dicit ; cecidit de 
caelo Lucifer qui mane oriebatur, contritus est super terram. Jesus 
loquitur, Videbam Satanam quasi fulgur de caelo cadentem. In quo 
differt dicere fulgur aut Luciferum de caelo cadentem ? ' Jerome, in 
his own commentary in Isaiam Prophetam, lib. vi. takes the 
same view and defends it at great length. 

Ambrose writes no less distinctly : ' Ipse diabolus per superbiam 
naturae suae amisit gratiam. Denique dum dicit Ponam thronum 
meum super nubes et ero similis altissimo (Esai. xiv. 13 


et 14), consortiis excidit angelorum.' In Psalmum 118, Expositio 
v. 51. 

Conf. also Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmum 88. v. 12 : ' Quid ergo 
timeo Aquilonem, quid timeo maria ? Est quidem in Aquilone 
diabolus, qui dixit Ponam sedem meam in Aquilonem, et ero similis 
altissimo ' (Isai. xiv. 13, 14). 

Boniface VIII in a letter to the recalcitrant Gallican clergy com 
pares them, morally and geographically, to Lucifer : ' In vanum 

laborant disponentes ab Aquilone sedem erigere contra 

vicarium Jesu Christi. Sed ut primus Lucifer cum 

sequacibus suis cecidit, corruet, quantacunque fulciatur potentia, et 
secundus.' Baronius, Annales Ecclesiastici in ann. 1302. 

The legendary story of the fall of Lucifer was popularized from a 
very early date. We find it in the Anglo-Saxon poems attributed to 

Caedmon : 

' Aught else they sought not 
To rear in heaven 
Save right and truth, 
Ere that the angel's guardian 
For pride 

Sank into error 

Then spake he the words 
From malice thirsty 
That he in the north part 
A home and lofty seat 
Of heaven's kingdom 
Would possess.' 

Metrical Paraphrase, 1. 40, &c., as translated by Benjamin Thorpe. 
The story occurs frequently in the Miracle Plays of the Middle 
Ages. In, e. g., the Chester Plays, a collection of Mysteries founded 
upon Scripture subjects (supposed date about 1400), the first play is 
on the ' Fall of Lucifer.' He is represented in God's absence as 
taking his seat on God's throne. 

4 Aha ! that I am wondrous bright 
Among you all shynning full cleare : 
Of all heaven I bear the light 
That am repleat with heavenly grace ; 
Though God come I will not hence 
But sitte right heare before his face.' 

He is found sitting there on God's return and is at once flung 
down to Hell, together with his confederate Light-borne. 

In the Coventry Mysteries, the offence and fall of Lucifer form part 
of the first play. The passage is too long to quote. 

So prominent is the part assigned to Lucifer by the legend that in 


the 'Advent of Antichrist ' we find Lucifer named as chief in the 
infernal hierarchy, distinguished from Sathanas and seemingly taking 
rank above him. 

1. 23. assassins] The word seems to be used here in its ordinary 
sense, without special reference to the half-historical, half-mythical 
assassins or Ismaelians of Persia, from whom, as Bacon says else 
where, ' the name of the assassins, which is now familiar in the civil 
law, was derived.' Letters and Life, v. 166. 

1. 26. Mercury rod] Conf. 

' Turn virgam capit : hac animas ille evocat Oreo 
Pallentis, alias sub Tartara tristia mittit, 
Dat somnos adimitque, et lumina morte resignat.' 

Virg. Aen. iv. 242-4. 
and Homer, Od. xxiv. 1-5. 

1. 30. would be] i. e. should or ought to be. So passim. Conf., e. g., 
' the voices of the dialogue would be strong and manly, a base and 
a tenor no treble.' Essay 37. 

1. 30. Ira hominis] James i. 20. 

P. 25, 1. i. a notable observation &c.] Marcus Antonius de Dominis 
in his de Republicd Ecclesiasticd, lib. vii. cap. 8, under the heading In 
suadendd aut conservandd fide Catholicd vim externam non esse adhi- 
bendam, has collected from all quarters such authorities as he could 
find in support of his thesis. Bacon's reference may perhaps be to 
one of these, viz. an extract from Sulpicius Severus, Hist. Sac. lib. 
ii. cap. 50 : ' Secuti etiam accusatores Idacius et Ithacius episcopi : 
quorum studium in expugnandis haereticis non reprehenderem, si 
non studio vincendi plus quam oportuit certassent.' Or it may 
perhaps be to a passage in one of Cyprian's letters : ' Fictitia vasa 
confringere Domino soli concessum est, cui et virga ferrea data est. 
Esse non potest major domino suo servus ; nee quisquam sibi quod 
soli filio pater tribuit vindicare potest, ut putet aut, ad aream ventilan- 
dam et purgandam, palam ferre posse, aut a frumento universa 
zizania humano judicio separare. Superba est ista obstinatio et 
sacrilega praesumptio quam sibi furor pravus assumit; et dum 
dominium sibi semper quidam plusquam mitis justitia deposcit 
assumunt, de Ecclesia pereunt.' Cyprian, Epist. 41. 




REVENGE is a kind of wild justice*, which the more 
man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out : 
for as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law, but 
the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of office b . 
Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his 
enemy ; but in passing it over, he is superior ; for it is 
a prince's part to pardon : and Salomon, I am sure, saith c , 
It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence. That which is 
past is gone and irrevocable, and wise men have enough 

10 to do with things present and to come ; therefore they do 
but trifle with themselves that labour in past matters. 
There is no man doth a wrong for the wrong's sake, but 
thereby to purchase d himself profit, or pleasure, or honour, 
or the like ; therefore why should I be angry with a man 
for loving himself better than me ? And if any man should 
do wrong, merely out of ill-nature, e why ? yet it is but like 
the thorn or briar, which prick and scratch because they 
can do no other. The most tolerable sort of revenge is 
for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy ; but 

20 then, let a man take heed the revenge be such as there is 
no law to punish, else a man's enemy is still beforehand f , 

a wild justice] i. e. uncultivated ; a But the English conveys what the Latin 

mere weed, and as such to be weeded does not a sort of notice to the reader 

out. Lat. agrestis quaedam justilia. that the quotation is to stand unverified. 

But clearly as the Essay pronounces d to purchase] i. e. to obtain. Lat. 

against this wild justice, this agrestis nt sibi conciliet. Conf. ' If a man per- 

justitia, we find it noted in the Anti- form that which hath not been at- 

theta among the arguments in favour tempted before .... he shall purchase 

of revenge. Works, i. 703. There is more honour.' Essay 55. 

more said on the same side in the An- e The Latin follows this punctuation, 

titheta, of which there is nothing in the but omits the ' yet' as out of place after 

Essay. the interrogative quid turn? etiam 

b putteth the law out of office} Lat. spina et rubus pungunt etc. 

legem auctoritate sua plane spoliat. f is still beforehand] i. e. the enemy 

c Salomon, I am sure, saith'] Lat. has had the concluding blow struck on 

Equidem memini dixisse Salomonem. his side, and the man who has taken 


and it is two for one. Some, when they take revenge, are 
desirous the party should know whence it cometh : this is 
the more generous ; for the delight seemeth to be not so 
much in doing the hurt as in making the party repent : 
but base and crafty cowards are like the arrow that flieth 
in the dark. Cosmus, Duke of Florence, had a desperate 
saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those 
wrongs were unpardonable. You shall read, saith he, that 
we are commanded to forgive our enemies; but you never 
read that we are commanded to forgive our friends. But yet 10 
the spirit of Job was in a better tune : Shall we, saith he, 
take good at Gods hands, and not be content to take evil 
also ? and so of friends in a proportion g . This is certain, 
that a man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds 
green h , which otherwise would heal and do well. Public 
revenges are for the most part fortunate * ; as that for the 
death of Caesar ; for the death of Pertinax ; for the death 
of Henry the Third of France ; and many more. But in 
private revenges it is not so ; nay, rather vindicative 
persons live the life of witches, who, as they are mis- 20 
chievous, so end they infortunate. 


P. 34, 1. 7. Salomon, I am sure, saith] ' The discretion of a man 
deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.' 
Prov. xix. ii. 

P. 35, 1. 2. whence it cometh] Conf. Ai6 op6a>s irfTroirjTai ' &ao-6ai 

'Odvcrcrrja irro\nr6p6iov,' a>s ov rerifjiaiprjfjievns ei p.r) ycrSfTO Kal v(f)' ov KCU avo 

Aristotle, Rhet. II, cap. 3, sec. 16. 

revenge has suffered a two-fold loss a friend stands to a friend, as compared 

that namely which his enemy first in- with that of a creature to its creator. 
flicted, and that which the law inflicts h green] i. e. fresh, then fresh-like, 

as a punishment for his illegal act of unhealed. Conf. ' Their wounds being 

revenge. He is thus patient twice and yet green and uncured which they got 

agent once only. by the wars of Phocide.' Plutarch, 

in a proportion] in proportion, that Lives, p. 852. 
is, to the very different relation in which i fortunate] Lat. prospers cedunt. 

D 2 


1. 6. Cosmus, Duke of Florence] Vide note on Essay 42. The 
saying in the text has not been traced. 

1. ii. spirit of Job] Job ii. 10. 

1. 15. Public revenges] It is not easy to see the drift of this 
comparison. Public revenges, as contrasted with private revenges, 
are revenges undertaken, not from vindictive motives nor in return 
for personal injuries, but to inflict punishment for public wrongs, for 
injuries done to the community. That these are for the most part 
fortunate hardly needs to be proved. Society could not exist with 
out them. But the sense of the text seems further narrowed by the 
three instances which follow, and which illustrate the kind of injury, 
the punishment for which is here termed a public revenge. In each 
case it is the murder of a public chief the revenge for which is said 
to have been fortunate. The facts are as follows. The death of 
Caesar was revenged by Antony and Augustus, and the revenge 
may be termed fortunate, i. e. either successful in fact, or fortunate 
for the agents or for the state. The final consolidation of the 
imperial power under Augustus will perhaps bear this out for the 
state, certainly for one of the agents. The death of Pertinax was 
avenged by Septimius Severus, and this again had an issue fortunate 
for himself, not so clearly fortunate for the state. The death of 
Henry the Third of France was avenged by his murderer being put 
to death on the spot, but Henry IV had nothing to do with this and 
his accession was in no sense dependent upon it. The Latin gives 
the death of Henry IV instead of that of Henry III, even less appo 
sitely. The torture of the wretched Ravaillac and the accession of 
Louis XIII can hardly be twisted into instances of a fortunate 

1.2i. so end they infortunate"] The judicial records of the middle 
ages supply abundant evidence of this. Conf. e. g. ' S'il advient que 
la Sorciere invoque ou appelle le diable, il faut proceder sans doute a 
condemnation de mort . . . . et non seulement de mort, ains il faut 
condamner tels monstres a estre bruslez tous vifs, suyvant la cous- 
tume generate observee de toute anciennete en toute la Chrestiente ; 
de la quelle coustume et loy generale le Juge ne se doit departer ne 
deroger a icelle ny diminuer la peine, s'il n'y a grande et urgente 
raison.' Bodin, La demonomanie des Sorciers, lib. iv. cap. 5, des 
peines que meritent les Sorciers. 

Popular indignation did not always wait for process of law. Bodin, 
e. g., tells of a sorcerer named Pumber who could kill three men a 
day by looking at them with firm purpose. ' En fin les paysans du 
village le demembrerent en pieces, sans forme ne figure de proces.' 
Bk. ii. cap. 8. 




IT was a high speech of Seneca (after the manner of the 
Stoics) that, the good things which belong to prosperity are to 
be wished, but the good things that belong to adversity are to 
be admired. Bona rerum secundarum optabilia ; adver- 
sarum mirabilia. Certainly a , if miracles be the command 
over nature, they appear most in adversity. It is yet 
a higher speech of his than the other, (much too high for 
a heathen) It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of 
a man, and the security" of a God. Vere magnum habere 
fragilitatem hominis, securitatem Dei. This would have 10 
done better in poesy, where transcendencies are more 
allowed ; and the poets, indeed, have been busy with it ; 
for it is, in effect, the thing which is figured in that strange 
fiction of the ancient poets, which seemeth not to be 
without mystery c ; nay, and to have some approach to 
the state of a Christian, that Hercules, when he went to 
unbind Prometheus by whom human nature is represented, 
sailed the length of the great ocean in an earthen pot or 
pitcher, lively d describing Christian resolution, that saileth 
in the frail bark of the flesh through the waves of the 20 
world. But to speak in a mean e . The virtue of prosperity 

a Certainly, &c.] i.e. Adversity gives out in Ben Jonson's The Forest, 

most occasion for the exercise of a XI Epode, last line : 

self-command, in restraint of natural ' Man may securely sin, but safely 

impulse, so great that Bacon terms it never.' 

miraculous. Conf. Essay 58 : ' For c mystery] i. e. secret meaning or 

martyrdoms, I reckon them among intention. Conf. < But touching the 

miracles, because they seem to mystery of re-annexing of the duchy 

exceed the strength of human na- of Brittaine to the crown of France . . . 

ture.' the ambassadors bare aloof from it as 

b security] i. e. sense of safety, ab- from a rock.' Works, vi. 66. 

sence of care. Conf. ' Security is an d lively] i. e. livelily. Lat. ad vivum. 

ill guard for a kingdom.' Letters and e But to speak in a mean] i. e. in 

Life, vi. 20. moderate language. Lat. Verum ut 

The old contrast, now lost, between a granditate verborum ad mediocritatem 

security and safety is well brought descendamus. 

38 ESSAY V. 

is temperance ; the virtue of adversity is fortitude ; which 
in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the 
blessing of the Old Testament ; adversity is the blessing 
of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and 
the clearer revelation of God's favour. Yet even in the" 
Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you shall 
hear as many hearse-like airs as carols f ; and the pencil of 
the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the 
afflictions of Job than the felicities of Salomon. Prosperity 
10 is not without many fears and distastes g ; and adversity is 
not without comforts and hopes. We see in needleworks 
and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work 
upon a sad and solemn h ground, than to have a dark 
and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground : judge, 
therefore, of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure 
of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most 
fragrant when they are incensed ! , or crushed : for pros 
perity doth best discover k vice, but adversity doth best 
discover virtue. 


P. 37, 1. 1. high speech] Seneca's words are ' Ita dico, in aequo est 
moderate gaudere et moderate dolere : Laetitia ilia non vincit animi 

1 carols] i. e. verses in a lively or and discreet men and exemplary for 

joyous strain. Lat. exultationes. their lives.' Letters and Life, vi. 17. 

B distastes] i. e. annoyances. Lat. ' Certaine gentlemen of the privie 
molestiae. Conf. 'That we make ap- chamber [of Henry VIII.] were re 
plication of our knowledge to give moved for their lewdnesse, and then 
ourselves repose and contentment, and four sad and ancient knights put into 
not distaste or repining.' Works, iii. their places.' Stowe's Annals, by 
266. Howes, p. 508. (Quoted in Warton's 

' I that knew well . . . what occasion Observations on the Fairy Queen). 
I had given her both of distaste and ' incensed} i. e. set on fire. A Latin- 
distrust in crossing her disposition.' ism. Lat. incensa. Conf. ' The good, 
Letters and Life, iii. 153. if any be, is due tanquam adeps sacri- 

h sad and solemn] These two words ficti, to be incensed to the honour, first 

mean much the same, and are ex- of the Divine Majesty, and next of 

pressed by the same word in the Latin, your Majesty.' Works, iii. 491. 
colon's magis opaci. Conf. ' Take the k discover] i. e. make manifest. Lat. 

opinion of some grave and eminent indicat. Conf. ' The vale best dis- 

divines ; especially such as are sad covereth the hill.' Essay 48. 



firmitatem, sub tortore gemitus devorantem. Ilia bona optabilia sunt, 
haec mirabilia.' Epist. Ixvi. 

1. 9. Vere magnum] The exact words are' Ecce, res magna, 
habere imbecillitatem hominis, securitatem Dei.' Epist. 53, subfinem. 

1. 16. Hercules} There are several references in classical writers 
to this story about Hercules, but none of them speak of his voyage 
in an earthen pot or pitcher. 

The earliest version is from Athenaeus : 

Tldaavdpos tv dfVTfpa 'HpaK\eias, TO 8eiras ev w SieVXewcrei/ 6 'HpaK\r)s TOV 

uiKeavov, elvai pev (prjo-iv fj\lov, Xa/3etv 5' avro Trap' 'fl/ceai/oC 'HpaKXea 

"On 8e Kal 6 "HXios eVi TTorr)piov 8ifKop.ieTo eVl rfv 8v<riv, Sr^o-i^opo? piv 

OVTO>S <pr)o-iv .... Kal 'AvTip-axos .... /cat Ato-^vXas These speak 

of the cup as of gold. 0edXuros 8' ev 8evTepa>*Qpa>v eVJ XefirjTos (frrjcriv 

ai/Tov dianXfvarai. Athenaeus xi. 38. 

The explanation there suggested is that Hercules was a hard 
drinker. Macrobius believes that Scyphus was the name of the ship 
in which he sailed. 'Scyphus Herculis poculum est, ita ut Liberi 
patris cantharus . . . Antiqua historia est Herculem poculo tanquam 

navigio (ventis) immensa maria transisse ego tamen arbitror 

non poculo Herculem maria transvectum, sed navigio cui scypho 
nomen fuit.' Macrobii Saturnal. v. 21. 

Apollodorus mentions the voyage in a golden cup in his account of 
the tenth labour of Hercules that of bringing the oxen of Geryones 
from the island of Erythia, in the outer ocean. After traversing Europe 

and Libya he comes to TartCSSUS Kal napeKdtav Taprrja-a-w earr/af a-rjfjLfia 
TTJS Tropftas eirl TOJV opa>v Evpa>7T?7S *al Aiftvrjf, aWiOTOi^ous 8vo cmjXar. Qepfiaivo- 
[ifvos 8e VTro'HXtoi; Kara TTJV TTopfiav,TO TOOV eVl rbvdfbv fverfivev' 68e rfjvdvdpeiav 
avrov davp.acras, ^pucreoi/ f8a>Kf dfTras, ev (o TOV 'QKcavbv SitTrepacre. Hercules 
slays the custodians ; then evQeptvos ras ftoas els TO SeVar, *cal 8icnr\fii(ras 
6ty TapTija-o-bi', 'HXi'a) TraXiv aTreduKe TO SeVas. Apollodorus, Biblioth. ii. 5. IO. 

The later voyage in which Prometheus was unbound is recorded in 

the next section : Kai 8ia TTJS Ai/3u7/s iropfvdfls eVl Triv fa> 0a\ao-crav, Kara- 
TrXet* ov TO Senas KaTaXanfidvei. Kal Trepaiadels enl TTJV rjiteipov rr\v ditTiiepv, 
KOTeTo^eva-ev eVl TOU KauKacrou TOV evQiovTa TO TOV Ilpo/jirjOeas rjirap aleTov, . . . 
Kal TOV TlpofjLTjdea 8ie\V(T(. 

Heyne in his notes on these two passages has collected other 
variations of the legend, but in none of them is there any mention of 
Bacon's earthen pot or pitcher. We find the legend referred to in 
the De Sapientia Veterum, cap. xxvi, and a diiferent interpretation of 
it finally and somewhat hesitatingly given : ' Haec sunt ilia, quae in 
fabula ista vulgari et decantata nobis adumbrari videntur : neque 
tamen inficiamur illi subesse haud pauca quae ad Christianae fidei 
mysteria miro consensu innuant ; ante omnia navigatio ilia Herculis 
in urceo ad liberandum Prometheum, imaginem Dei Verbi, in. carne 
tanquam fragili vasculo ad redemptionem generis humani properantis, 


prae se ferre videtur. Verum nos omnem in hoc genere licentiam 
nobis ipsi interdicimus, ne forte igni extraneo ad altare Domini 
utamur.' Works, vi. 676. 

P. 38, 1. 17. crushed] Conf. Apophthegms New and Old. ' Mr. 
Bettenham said : that virtuous men were like some herbs and spices, 
that give not their sweet smell till they be broken and crushed.' 
Works, vii. 160. 



DISSIMULATION is but a faint kind of policy, or wisdom ; 
for it asketh a a strong wit and a strong heart to know 
when to tell truth, and to do it : therefore it is the weaker 
sort of politics b that are the great dissemblers. 

Tacitus saith, Lima sorted well* with the arts of her 
husband, and dissimulation of her son; attributing arts 
or policy to Augustus, and dissimulation to Tiberius : and 
again, when Mucianus encourageth Vespasian to take 
arms against Vitellius, he saith, We rise not against the 
\Q piercing judgment of Augustus, nor the extreme caution or 

asketh~\ i. e. requireth. Lat. in- their nature sorteth with professions 

genium acre et robur animi constans ad and courses of life, and accordingly 

hoc requiritur &c. to make election.' Works, iii. 461. 

b politics] i.e. politicians, so passim. The word to sort has also other 

sorted well] This is Bacon's transla- meanings in Bacon. In Essay 7, 

tion of Tacitus' ' bene composita,' a diffi- P- 49. ' to sort with mean company,' is to 

cult phrase which Gronovius interprets consort, to associate. Conf. also ' the 

as - ' et marito et filio unice respondents, unable person ... is sorted with such 

conveniens, digna visa, et quasi a fatis work as he can manage and perform.' 

lecta, quae utrumque, quantum erat Letters and Life, iv. 252. In the same 

salubre, temperaret.' Essa y and in Essa y 2 7> we find ' sor ' 

Sorted well may therefore here mean teth to discord,' ' sorteth to incon- 

agreed well, a sense in which we find venience,' i. e. turneth. Conf. ' Had it 

the word used elsewhere by Bacon. n t been that the Count of Bossu was 

Conf. ' A friend may speak as the slack in charging the Spaniards upon 

case requires and not as it sorteth their retreat, this fight had sorted to 

with the person.' Essay 27, subfinetn. an absolute defeat.' Letters and Life, 

And, ' For men ought to consider how vii. 483. 


closeness of Tiberius. These properties of arts or policy, 
and dissimulation or closeness, are indeed habits and 
faculties several d , and to be distinguished ; for if a man 
have that penetration of judgment as he can discern what 
things are to be laid open, and what to be secretted e , and ' 
what to be showed at half-lights, and to whom and when 
(which indeed are arts of state, and arts of life, as Tacitus 
well calleth them), to him a habit of dissimulation is a 
hinderance and a poorness. But if a man cannot obtain 
to f that judgment, then it is left to him generally to be 10 
close, and a dissembler: for where a man cannot choose 
or vary in particulars, there it is good to take the safest 
and wariest way in general, like the going softly 8 by one 
that cannot well see. Certainly, the ablest men that ever 
were, have had all an openness and frankness of dealing, 
and a name of certainty and veracity : but then they were 
like horses well managed h , for they could tell passing well 

d several] i. e. separate, distinct. 
Conf. ' arming them in several places 
and under several commanders.' Lat. 
in locis diversis et sub diversis dudbus. 
Essay 19. And, 'And every kynde of 
thing is laid up severall, in bernes or 
store-houses.' More, Utopia, p. 90. 
(Arber's Reprint of Robinson's trans.) 

secretted} From the obsolete verb 
to secret, i. e. to keep secret. Conf. 
' There is great care to be used for the 
councillors themselves to be well cho 
sen, so there is of the clerks of the 
council for the secreting their con 
sultations.' Letters and Life, vi. 41. 
And, ' Let princes beware that the 
unsecreting of their affairs come not 
from themselves.' Essay 20. 

! cannot obtain to] i. e. cannot attain 
to. Lat. si guts ascenders non valeat. 
Conf. ' In the degrees of human 
honour among the heathen, it was 
the highest to obtain to a veneration 
and adoration as a God.' Works, iii. 

e going softly] i.e. slowly. Lat. lente. 
' Soft ! 

The Jew shall have all justice ; 
soft ! no haste.' 

Merchant of Venice, act iv. sc. i. 

h well managed} Lat. bene docti et 
domiti. But this does not give the full 
sense. To manage was a technical 
term in use in Bacon's day, and to 
know ' when to stop or turn ' was the 
sign of a well-managed horse. Conf. 
' You shall then teach (your horse) to 
manage, which is the only posture for 
the use of the sword on horseback . . . 
First, cause some bystander to prick 
up in the earth two riding rods, about 
twenty yards, or lesse as you think 
good, distant one from the other ; then 
walk your horse in a straight turn or 
ring about the first on your right hand ; 
and so passing him in an even furrow 
downe to the other rod, walk about it 
also in a narrow ring on your left 
hand : then thrust him into a gentle 


when to stop or turn ; and at such times when they 
thought the case indeed required dissimulation, if then 
they used it it came to pass that the former opinion, spread 
abroad, of their good faith and clearness of dealing, made 
them almost invisible. 

There be three degreesof this hiding and veiling of a 
man's self: the "first," closeness, reservation, and secrecy; 
when a man leaveth himself without observation, or with 
out hold to be taken, what he is: the second, dissimulation 

10 in the negative ; when a man lets fall signs and arguments 
that he is not that he is : and the third, simulation in the 
affirmative ; when a man industriously i and expressly 
feigns and pretends to be that he is not. 

For the first of these, secrecy, it is indeed the virtue of 
a confessor ; and assuredly the secret man heareth many 
confessions ; for who will open himself to a blab or a 
babbler? But if a man be thought secret, it inviteth 
discovery k ; as the more close air sucketh in the more 
open ; and, as in confession the revealing is not for worldly 

20 use, but for the ease of a man's heart, so secret men come 
to the knowledge of many things in that kind 1 ; while men 
rather m discharge their minds than impart their minds. 
In few words n , mysteries are due to secrecy. Besides (to 

gallop down the even furrow till you to give colour that his true wants 

come to the first rod, and there making are but industries and dissimulations.' 

him as it were stop and advance Works, iii. 464. 

without any pause or intermission of k it inviteth discovery] Lat. facile 

time, thrust him forward again and aliorum animos reserabit. 

beat the turn Terra, Terra (which is l in that kind} i. e. in much the same 

the most open of all straight turns) way as the confessor does. Lat. simili 

about it on your right hand, and then de causa. 

gallop forth right to the other rod, and m while men rather &c.] The Latin 

in the same manner beat the turn is clearer: dum homines, non tarn 

about it on your left hand.' Gervase impertire, quam exonerare animum cu- 

Markham, Country Contentments, bk. piant. 

i. p. 57 (ed. of 1615). n In few words &c.] This dark 

1 industriously] i. e. purposely. Lat. saying, taken as a summing up of what 

ex industna. Conf. ' And for that goes before, and interpreted with the 

purpose must use to dissemble those help of the Latin, seems to mean that 

abilities which are notorious in him, the man who can hold his tongue has 


say truth), nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as 
body ; and it addeth no small reverence to men's manners 
and actions if they be not altogether open. As for talkers 
and futile persons, they are commonly vain and credulous 
withal : for he that talketh what he knoweth, will also talk 
what he knoweth not. Therefore set it down, that a habit 
of secrecy is both politic and moral : and in this part it is 
good that a man's face p give his tongue leave to speak ; 
for the discovery of a man's self by the tracts q of his 
countenance is a great weakness and betraying, by how 10 
much r it is many times more marked and believed than a 
man's words. 

For the second, which is dissimulation. It followeth 
many times upon secrecy by a necessity; so that he that 

a sort of admitted claim to have other 
persons' secrets disclosed to him. Lat. 
mysteria silentibus debenlur, 

futile] Latin futiles, i. e. literally, 
easily pouring out. Here, probably, 
incontinent of speech. Given to chat 
tering. Conf. ' One futile person, 
that maketh it his glory to tell, 
will do more hurt than many that 
know it their duty to conceal.' Essay 

A passage in L'Estrange' s Fables 
of ^Esop and Others, points clearly to 
this sense of the word. ' This fable ' 
(in which a woman worms a secret 
from her husband under promise of 
strict secresy which she very sig 
nally fails to keep) ' does not strike so 
much at the futility of women in 
general as at the incontinent levity of 
a prying inquisitive humour.' Re 
flexion on Fable ccccxxvii. 

P that a man's face] i. e. that a man 
do not so reveal himself by the tracts 
of his countenance as either to an 
ticipate what he is about to say, or to 
give the lie to his spoken words. The 
Latin ut vultus suits linguae qfficittnt 
non praeripiatis an imperfect rendering 
of the text. 

i tracts} i. e. movements : a latinism 
from tractus. In a corresponding pas 
sage in the Adv. of Learning, Bacon 
speaks of ' the motions of the coun 
tenance.' Works, iii. 368. 

1 by how much] The exact sense of 
this elliptical phrase may be gathered 
from e. g. a passage in Hooker where 
it is given at full length : ' All duties 
are by so much the better per 
formed, by how much the men are 
more religious from whose abilities the 
same proceed.' Eccl. Pol. bk. v. ch. 
i, sec. 2. Bacon's meaning therefore 
is that the degree in which the dis 
covery of a man's self, by the tracts 
of his countenance, is a weakness is 
shown inter alia by the fact that it is 
often more believed than his words. 
The phrase occurs elsewhere in Bacon. 
Conf. ' By how much the more men 
ought to beware of this passion.' Es 
say 10. And, 'They commit the 
whole ; by how much the more they 
are obliged to all faith and integrity.' 
Essay 20. And ' The knowledge of 
ourselves : which deserveth the more 
accurate handling, by how much it 
toucheth us more nearly.' Works, iii. 


will be secret must be a dissembler in some degree ; for 
men are too cunning to suffer a man to keep an indifferent 
carriage 8 between both, and to be secret, without swaying 
. the balance on either side. They will so beset a man with 
questions, and draw him on, and pick it out of him, that 
without an absurd silence, he must show an inclination one 
way ; or if he do not, they will gather as much by his 
silence as by his speech. As for equivocations, or oraculous 
speeches, they cannot hold out long : so that no man can 

10 be secret, except he give himself a little scope of dissimula 
tion, which is, as it were, but the skirts or train of secrecy. 
But for the third degree, which is simulation and false 
profession, that I hold more culpable, and less politic, 
except it be in great and rare matters : and, therefore, 
a general custom of simulation (which is this last degree) 
is a vice rising either of a natural falseness or fearfulness, 
or of a mind that hath some main faults ; which because a 
man must needs disguise, it maketh him practise simulation 
in other things, lest his hand should be out of ure *. 

20 The great advantages of simulation and dissimulation 
are three : first, to lay asleep opposition, and to surprise ; 
for where a man's intentions are published, it is an alarum u 
to call up all that are against them. The second is, to 
reserve to a man's self a fair retreat ; for if a man engage 

s to keep an indifferent carriage'] i. e. Lat. ne forte habitus ipse intercidat. 

to maintain an impartial bearing. Lat. Conf. ' But generally I see it neither 

in aequilibrio se continere. For indif- put in ure nor put in inquisition.' 

ferent in this sense conf. e. g. ' In Works, iii. 404. And, ' As may appear 

choice of committees for ripening by other kinds of benevolence, pre- 

business for the council, it is better sented to her likewise in Parliament, 

to choose indifferent persons (Lat. eos which her Majesty nevertheless hath 

eligere qui aequi sunt et in neutram not put in ure.' Letters and Life, i. 

partem propendeanf) than to make an 177. The word is frequently used by 

indifferency by putting in those that Bacon, 

are strong on both sides.' Essay 20. n an alarum] Lit. a call to arms. 

For carriage, conf. ' The even car- Lat. veluti tuba. Conf. ' Whose swords 

riage between two factions proceedeth be kept sheathed, so ready to be drawn 

not always of moderation.' Essay 51. upon every alarum.' Hacket, Life of 

* out of ure] i. e. out of practice. Abp. Williams, Part i. p. 226. 


himself by a manifest declaration, he must go through, or 
take a fall v . The third is, the better to discover the mind 
of another ; for to him that opens himself men will hardly 
show themselves adverse; but will (fair) let him go on, 
and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of thought ; 
and therefore it is a good shrewd proverb of the Spaniard, 
Tell a lie and find a tr\3th ; as if there were no way of 
discovery but by simulation. There be also three dis 
advantages to set it even. The first, that simulation -and 
dissimulation commonly carry with them a show ofio 
fearfulness, which in any business doth spoil w the feathers 
of round flying up to the mark. The second, that it 
puzzleth and perplexeth the conceits x of many, that 
perhaps would otherwise co-operate with him, and makes 
a man walk almost alone to his own ends. The third and 
greatest is, that it depriveth a man of one of the most 
principal instruments for action, which is trust and belief. 
The best composition and temperature y is, to have open 
ness in fame and opinion z ; secrecy in habit ; dissimulation 
in seasonable use ; and a power to feign if there be no 20 

v take a fall] i. e. suffer a defeat. prejudice preserve thus much of the 

The Latin gives, more fully, aut per- conceit of antiquity.' Works, iii. 353 

gendum est ei, aut turpiter desistendum. (and passim}. 

For ' take ' in the above sense conf. * temperature} i. e. temperament. 
' A mate of fortune she never took.' Lat. temperamentunt. Conf. 'As touch- 
Letters and Life, i. 140. ing the manners of learned men, it is 

w doth spoil &c.] The sense of this a thing personal and individual : and 

phrase is given clearly in the Latin no doubt there be amongst them, as in 

plumas vellit ne pernidter ad metam ad- other professions, of all temperatures.' 

volent. The construction of the English Works, iii. 277. And, ' Neither hath 

is more doubtful. The words probably learning an influence and operation 

mean doth spoil (or deprive) the only upon civil merit and moral virtue, 

feathers (i. e. the feathered arrow) of and the arts or temperature of peace 

the power of flying direct to the mark. and peaceable government.' Ibid. 

For this sense of round, conf. ' Clear p. 307. 

and round dealing is the honour of x to have openness in fame and 

man's nature.' Essay i, and*note. opinion] i. e. to be credited with being 

* the conceits'] i. e. thoughts. Lat. frank and outspoken. Lat. si quis 

cogitationes. Conf. ' I may without veracitatis famam obtineat. 



P. 40, 1. i. Dissimulation &c.] Conf. ' So tedious, casual and 
unfortunate are these deep dissimulations : whereof it seemeth 
Tacitus made this judgment, that they were a cunning of an inferior 
form in regard of true policy : attributing the one to Augustus, the 
other to Tiberius, where speaking of Livia he saith, et cum artibus 
mariti, simulation* filii, bene composita ; for surely the continual habit 
of dissimulation is but a weak and sluggish cunning, and not greatly 
politic.' Works, iii. 468. 

1. 5. Tacitus saith} Annals v. i. The words of Tacitus are given 
in the note above. 

1. 7. and again, when Mudanus] ' Non adversus divi Augusti 
acerrimam mentem, nee adversus cautissimam Tiberii senectutem 
. . . consurgimus.' Tac. Hist. ii. 70. 

P. 41, 1. 7. arts of state and arts of life] Mr. Aldis Wright offers 
choice here between two passages of Tacitus, neither of them very 
close to the text, but, if taken together, perhaps near enough to serve. 
' Capito insignitior infamia fuit, quod, humani divinique juris sciens, 
egregium publicum et bonas domi artes dehonestavisset.' Annals 
iii. 70. 

The offence of Capito had been that he had made a false show 
of remonstrating with Tiberius for encroaching on the province of 
the senate by pardoning an offence against himself, and this Capito 
obsequiously pretended to consider as a public crime. The other 
passage, from the Agricola, cap. xxxix, speaks of 'studia fori et 
civilium artium decus.' 

P. 42, 1. 4. of their good faith] So Guicciardini, speaking of the vast 
promises on the faith of which Julius the second obtained the Papacy, 
remarks that he well knew 'che niuno piii facilmente inganna gli 
altri, che chi e solito et ha fama di mai non gl'ingannare.' Storia 
d' Italia, bk. vi. p. 181 in the London edition of 1821. 

1. 14. For the first of these &c.] The rules and cautions in the text 
are substantially the same as those given in the Advancement of 
Learning. Works, iii. 460. 

1. 18. as the more close air &c.] That is to say, as the hot rarified 
air inside a room gives passage to the colder and more dense air 
which enters from outside. 

P. 43, 1. 8. that a man's face &c.] Conf. ' The lineaments of the 
body do disclose the disposition and inclination of the mind in general ; 
but the Motions of the countenance and parts do not only so, but do 
further disclose the present humour and state of the mind and will. 
For as your Majesty saith most aptly and elegantly, As the tongue 
speaketh to the ear, so the gesture speaketh to the eye. And therefore 
a number of subtile persons, whose eyes do dwell upon the faces 


and fashions of men, do well know the advantage of this observation, 
as being most part of their ability ; neither can it be denied but 
that it is a great discovery of dissimulations, and a great direction 
in business.' Works, iii. 368. And ' The poet saith 

Nee vultu destine verba tuo : 

a man may destroy the force of his words with his countenance.' 
Ibid. p. 446. The poet is Ovid, Artes Amat. lib. ii. 312. And, ' It 
is a point of cunning to wait upon him with whom you speak with 
your eye, as the Jesuits give it in precept ; for there be many 
wise men that have secret hearts and transparent countenances.' 
Essay 22. 

1. 9. the discovery of a man's self} This was notoriously so with 
the Earl of Essex, whom Bacon probably had in mind. Conf. ' How 
ill the Earl (of Essex) was read in this court philosophy, his servant 
Cuife discerned well when he said, Amorem et odium semper in fronte 
gessit, nee celare novit.' A View of the Parallel between Earl of Essex 
and Duke of Buckingham ; Lansdowne MS. 213. 

1. ii. more marked and believed} Conf. ' We will begin therefore 
with this precept ... that more trust be given to countenances and 
deeds than to words. Neither let that be feared which is said, fronti 
nulla fides, which is meant of a general outward behaviour and not 
of the private and subtile motions and labours of the countenance 
and gesture, which as Q. Cicero elegantly saith is animi janua' 
Works, iii. 457. 

P. 44, 1. 6. he must show an inclination one way &c.] But vide, per 
contra, King James, Basilicon Doron, bk. i : ' If anything be asked 
at you that yee thinke not meete to reveale, if yee say that question 
is not pertinent for them to aske, who dare examine you further ? 
and using sometimes this answer both in true and false things that 
shall be asked at you, such unmanerly people will never be the 
wiser thereof.' James' rule however is fitter for a King or Prince 
than for a private man who might not so easily rid himself of 
unmannerly questioners. The Basilicon Doron was written for 
Prince Henry. 

P. 45, 1. 7. Telia lie &c.] This good shrewd proverb (Lat. satis ma- 
lignum adagium] is given in the Advancement of Learning in Spanish. 
( Experience sheweth, there are few men so true to themselves and 
so settled, but that sometimes . . . they open themselves ; specially 
if they be put to it with a counter-dissimulation, according to the 
proverb of Spain, Di mentira, y sacaras verdad, Tell a lie and find 
a truth.' Works, iii. 459. 




THE joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs 
and fears ; they cannot utter the one, nor they will not 
utter the other. Children sweeten labours, but they make 
misfortunes more bitter ; they increase the cares of life, 
but they mitigate the remembrance of death. The 
perpetuity by generation is common to beasts ; but 
memory a , merit, and noble works, are proper to men : and 
surely a man shall see the noblest works and foundations 
have proceeded from childless men, which have sought to 

10 express the images of their minds where those of their 
bodies have failed ; so the care of posterity is most in 
them that have no posterity. They that are the first 
raisers of their houses are most indulgent towards their 
children, beholding them as the continuance, not only 
of their kind but of their work b , and so both children c and 

The difference 3 in affection of parents towards their 
several children is many times unequal, and sometimes 
unworthy, especially in the mother; as Salomon saith, 

20 A wise son rejoiceth the father, but an ungracious son shames 
the mother. A man shall see, where there is a house full 
of children, one or two of the eldest respected, and the 

& memory] i. e. the being held in consecration prayer of the Communion 

memory. Lat. aetemitas memoriae. Service. 

b work] i. e. as serving to perpetuate d The difference etc.] This is very ob- 

the family which the ' first raiser ' has scurely worded. The sense seems to 

founded. The Latin rerum a se gesta- be that the father and mother do many 

rum haeredes gives a somewhat different times not agree in the differences 

turn to the words. of regard which they have for their 

c children] ' children ' here clearly several children, the father preferring 

corresponds to ' kind,' i. e. species : one child while the mother prefers 

'creatures,' i.e. created objects, to another. Affection, it must be noted, 

'work.' Conf. for word ' these Thy does not imply love. It is regard of 

creatures of bread and wine ' in the any sort, kind or unkind. 


youngest made wantons e ; but in the midst some that are 
as it were forgotten, who, many times, nevertheless, prove 
the best. The illiberality of parents in allowance towards 
their children is an harmful error, makes them base, 
acquaints them with shifts f , makes them sort with 8 mean 
company, and makes them surfeit more when they come 
to plenty: and therefore the proof h is best when men 
keep their authority towards their children, but not their 
purse. Men have a foolish manner (both parents, and 
schoolmasters, and servants), in creating and breeding an 10 
emulation between brothers during childhood, which many 
times sorteth to discord 1 when they are men, and disturbeth 
families. The Italians make little difference between 
children and nephews or near kinsfolk ; but so they be of 
the lump k they care not, though they pass not through 
tbeir own body; and, to say truth, in nature, it is much 
a like matter ; insomuch that we see a nephew sometimes 
resembleth an uncle or a kinsman more than his own 
parent, as the blood happens.; Let parents choose betimes 
the vocations and courses they mean their children should 20 
take, for then they are most flexible, and let them not too 
much apply themselves 1 to the disposition of their children, 
as thinking they will take best to that which they have 
most mind to. It is true that, if the affection or aptness of 
the children be extraordinary, then it is good not to cross 
it ; but generally the precept is good, Optimum elige, suave 

e made wantons] i. e. spoilt. Lat. note on word in Essay 6. 

in deliciis esse. k of the lump} Lat. modo sint e tnassa 

1 acquaints them with shifts~\ Lat. sanguinis. Fr. (Gorges) pourveu qu'ils 

reddit fallaciis deditos. sont sortis du mesme tronc. 

K sort with] i.e. associate with. Vide 1 apply themselves to &c.] i.e. observe 

note on word in Essay 6. closely and allow themselves to be 

h the proof is best] i. e. the result on guided by. Conf. ' No sooner he be- 

trial is best. Lat. optime succedit. So came a new man, apply himself as he 

in Adv. of Learning, ' Fathers have ought to the government, but I also 

most comfort of the good proof of change my temper.' Strafford, Report 

their sons.' Works, iii. 451. on Ireland, quoted in Traill's Strafford, 

' sorteth to discord] i. e. turns to dis- p. 141. Conf. also note on word in 

cord. Lat. in discordias evadunt. Vide Essay 52. 


et facile illud faciet consuetude. Younger brothers are 
commonly fortunate, but seldom or never where the elder 
are disinherited. 


P. 48, 1. 6. perpetuity by generation &c.] So in Bacon's Discourse 
in the Praise of his Sovereign. ' Let them leave children that leave 
no other memory in their times : Brutorum aeternitas soboles.' 
Letters and Life, i. 140. 

Conf. also, 'Ynep apfrris adavarov KOI roiavrrfs 86r]s evK\eovs iriivrfs iravra 

Troiov(Tiv TOV yap aQavarov tpaxriv. Ot p.ev ovv eyK.vfj.ovfS) </>?, Kara 

cro!>/iara ovres irpbs ray yvvainas p-aXXov rpeirovrai Kal Tavrr) epcoriKoi etVi, 8ia 
Trai8oyovias adavaaiav Kal fjLvrjp-rjv Ka\ evSaipoviav, a>s 0*0 prat, avTois fls TOV 
fTTfira \p6vov TraVra>oi' ol 8e Kara T^V "^v^fjv .... a ^v^?? TrpocrijKei 
/cat Kvrjcrai Kal Kvdv. Plato, Sympos. 208 d. 

1.8. noblest works and foundations &c.] Conf. 'There is in man's 
nature a secret inclination and motion towards love of others, which 
if it be not spent upon some one or a few, doth naturally spread 
itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and charitable.' 
Essay 10, subfinem. 

So also, ' Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the 
public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men, which 
both in affection and means have married and endowed the public.' 
Essay 8. 

1. 18. unequal and sometimes unworthy] Can Bacon have been 
thinking of his own case here ? Mr. Spedding speaks of him as his 
father's 'favourite son.' Letters and Life, i. p. 6. Lady Bacon 
writes that he was ' his father's first choice,' p. 246. It is clear, too, 
that, at an early period in his career, his mother had formed and 
held a very bad opinion of him. pp. 244-45. 

1. 19. as Salomon saith] Solomon's saying Prov. x. i is 
expanded and its application shewn, somewhat fancifully, in the 
Advancement of Learning. ' Films sapiens laetificat patrem : filius vero 
stultus maestitia est matri suae. Here is distinguished, that fathers 
have most comfort of the good proof of their sons ; but mothers have 
most discomfort of their ill proof, because women have little dis 
cerning of virtue, but of fortune.' Works, iii. 451. 

In the corresponding passage in the De Augmentis Scientiarum 
the explanation is brought more close to the passage in the Essay. 
' Distinguuntur solatia atque aegritudines oeconomicae, patris vide 
licet et matris, circa liberos suos. Etenim filius prudens et frugi 
praecipuo solatio est patri, qui virtutis pretium melius novit quam 
mater : E contra, mater calamitati filii plus compatitur et 


indolet ; turn ob affectum maternum magis mollem et tenerum, turn 
fortasse indulgentiae suae conscia, qua eum corruperit et deprava- 
verit.' Works, i. 754. 

P. 49, 1. 26. the precept] Conf. 'Verily the precept of the Pytha 
goreans serveth to right good stead in this case (viz. of exile) to be 
practised. Choose, say they, the best life : use and custom will make 
it pleasant enough unto thee.' Plutarch, Morals, p. 225. 



HE that hath wife and children hath given hostages to 
fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, 
either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and- 
of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the 
unmarried or childless men, which both in affection and 
means have married and endowed the public. Yet it were 
great reason that those that have children should have 
greatest care of future times, unto which they know they 
must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are who, 
though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end 10 
with themselves, and account future times impertinences B . 
Nay, there are some other that account wife and children 
but as bills of charges. Nay more, there are some foolish 
rich covetous men that take a pride in having no children, 
because b they may be thought so much the richer; for, 

* impertinences} i.e. that with which b because] i. e. in order that. Lat. 

they have no concern. Lat. nihil ad se ut habeantur tanto ditiores. For this 

pertinentia. Conf. for word ' It is an use of 'because,' conf. ' It is the care 

excellent observation which hath been of some only to come off speedily for 

made upon the answers of our Saviour the time^ or to contrive some false 

Christ to many of the questions which periods of business, because they may 

were propounded to him, how that seem men of dispatch.' Essay 25. 
they are impertinent to the state of the ' Let it not touch the water, because 

question demanded.' Works, iii. 486. it may not putrify.' Works, iii. 818. 

E 2 


perhaps they have heard some talk, Such an one is a great 
rich man, and another except to it, Yea, but he hath a great 
charge of children ; as if it were an abatement to his riches. 
But the most ordinary cause of a single life is liberty, 
especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, 
which are so sensible of every restraint as they will go 
near to think their girdles and garters to be bonds and 
shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, 
best servants ; but not always best subjects, for they are 

10 light to run away d , and almost all fugitives are of that con 
dition. A single life doth well with churchmen, for charity 
will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. 
It is indifferent for judges and magistrates ; for if they be 
facile and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times 
worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals com 
monly, in their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives 
and children; and I think the despising of marriage 
amongst the Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base. 
Certainly, wife and children are a kind of discipline of 

2c humanity; and single men, though they be many times 
more charitable because their means are less exhaust 8 , 
yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hard 
hearted (good to make severe inquisitors), because their 

c humorous] i.e. full of fancies or is preserved in The Spectator. Vide 

conceits. Lat. phantastids. Ital. bi- Papers 616 and 617. 
.sarri. Fr. qui sont trop addonnes a d light to run away'] Lat. adfugam 

complaire d leurs propres humeurs. expedili. But the sense may perhaps be, 

Conf. ' It utterly betrayeth all utility simply, apt or ready to run away, 

for men to embark themselves too far with no added notion of unencumbered, 

in unfortunate friendships, troublesome Conf. Essay 51, note, on ' lightly ' = 

spleens, and childish and humourous usually : and Shakespeare's ' false of 

envies or emulations.' Works, iii. heart, light of ear,' i.e. ready to give ear 

471. to any tale. King Lear, act iii. sc. 4. 

COR. ' He makes congies to his wife e exhaust] i. e. exhausted. This 

in geometrical proportions. omission of the participial ending is 

MIT. Is't possible there should be not unfrequent with Bacon. Conf. e. g. 

any such humourist?' Essay 20, ' elaborate ' = elaborated, and 

Ben Jonson, Every Man out of his Essay n, 'observe wherein and how 

Humour, act ii. sc. i. they have degenerate' ; and Essay 51, 

This sense of humour and humorous ' they hold it a little suspect in Popes.' 


tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave natures, led 
by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving 
husbands ; as was said of Ulysses, Vetulam suam praetulit 
immortalitati. Chaste women are often proud and froward, 
as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one 
of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the 
wife, if she think her husband wise, which she will never 
do if she find him jealous. Wives are young men's 
mistresses f , companions for middle age, and old men's 
nurses; so as a man may have a quarrel 8 to marry when 10 
he will. But yet he was reputed one of the wise men that 
made answer to the question when a man should marry ? 
A young man not yet, an elder man not at all. It is often 
seen that bad husbands have very good wives; whether 
it be that it raiseth the price of their husbands' kindness 
when it comes, or that the wives take a pride in their 
patience ; but this never fails if the bad husbands were of 
their own choosing, against their friends' consent, for then 
they will be sure to make good their own folly. 


P. 51, 1. 2. for they are] The argument is not obvious. That a wife 
and children are impediments to great enterprises is no proof that 

f mistresses] The French (Gorges), Metis the mistress, that is the coun- 

maitresses, has here the ambiguity of cells of State to which princes are 

the English word. The Latin gives solemnly married, to councells of gra- 

dominae; the Italian le padrone. The cious persons.' Essay Of Councell, in 

obvious objections to this rendering the MS. date 1607-12 : vide Arber, 

are that it robs the sentence of such Harmony of Essays, p. 318. 

approximation to truth as the lower So in Raleigh's Instructions to his 

interpretation would leave in it, and son, cap. ii. 'Be sure of this, that 

that it is inconsistent with the words how many mistresses soever thou hast, 

that follow ' so as a man may have a so many enemies thou shalt purchase 

quarrel' (i.e. a reason to give himself) to thyself. ... for howsoever a lewd 

'to marry when he will.' A young woman please thee for a time, thou 

man would hardly think it an induce- wilt hate her in the end, and she will 

ment to marriage that he would be study to destroy thee.' 

compelled thereby to submit himself to g a quarrel} i.e. a reason to give 

a domina, as such. The word, in himself. Lat. ansa. I can find no 

Bacon's day, bore the same two-fold precise parallel to this use of the word, 

sense which it bears now. Conf. e. g. Quarrel '= reason of dispute, is common 

' Which hath turned Metis the wife to enough. 


the man who has them has given hostages to fortune. The reasoning 
would hold better in an inverse order Wife and children are im 
pediments to great enterprises, for the man who hath them hath 
given hostages to fortune. Possibly the phrase ' hath given hostages 
to fortune ' may be taken as a rhetorical flourish = is at a disadvantage 
in his efforts after fortune. 

1. 6. Yet it were great reason} Conf. the opening passage of the 
second book of the Advancement of Learning. ' It might seem to 
have more convenience, though it come often otherwise to pass 
(excellent king), that those which are fruitful in their generations, 
and have in themselves the foresight of immortality in their de 
scendants, should likewise be more careful of the good estate of 
future times ; unto which they know they must transmit and com 
mend over their dearest pledges.' Works, iii. 321. 

P. 52, 1. 5. certain self-pleasing and humorous minds] Bacon had 
probably in his mind a passage in which Montaigne confesses that 
he himself was of this temper. ' II (sc. le mariage) se treuve en ce 
temps plus commode aux ames simples et populaires, ou les delices, 
la curiosite et 1'oysifvete ne le troublent pas tant : les humeurs des- 
bauchees, comme est la mienne, qui hais toute sorte de liaison et 
d'obligation, n'y sont pas si propres : 

Et mihi dulce magis resoluto vivere collo.' 

Essays, bk. iii. chap. 5. 

P. 53, 1. 3. Ulysses] Bacon seems here to have had in his memory 
two passages, one from Cicero, the other from Joannes Regius's Latin 
translation of Plutarch's dialogue, ' Quod bruta animalia ratione 
utantur.' The passage from Cicero corresponds more exactly than 
the other to Bacon's praetulit immortalitati. ' Ac si nos, id quod 
maxime debet, nostra patria delectat ; cujus rei tanta est vis ac 
tanta natura, ut Ithacam illam in asperrimis saxulis, tanquam nidu- 
lum, affixam, sapientissimus vir immortalitati anteponeret,' c. De 
Oratore, lib. i. cap. 44. 

The passage from Plutarch comes nearer to the sense and it 
introduces the catch-word vetulam. Circe, replying to a remark of 
Ulysses, says, ' Quasi vero dudum his absurdiora in teipsum non 
commiseris, qui, relicta mecum immortali minimeque senescente 
vita, ad mortalem foeminam (ac potius, ut ego quidem sentio, jam 
vetulam) per mille adhuc incommoda properes.' Plut. Opera, H. 
Stephanus (1572). Latin version of p. 184 in the Greek. 

That Bacon had Plutarch's dialogue in his mind appears from his 
remark in the Advancement of Learning, where he refers with 
grave and contemptuous disapproval to the choice which he attributes 
to Ulysses, passing judgment in much the same terms and for much 
the same reasons as those used by a third speaker, Gryllus, later on 
in the dialogue. Bacon's words are : ' Nevertheless I do not pretend, 


and I know it will be impossible by any pleading of mine, to reverse 
the judgment, either of Aesop's cock, that preferred the barleycorn 
before the gem, or ... of Ulysses, qui vetulam praetulit immortalitati, 
being a figure of those which prefer custom and habit before all 
excellency : or of a number of the like popular judgments. For 
these things continue as they have been,' c. Works, iii. 319. So 
in Plutarch, Gryllus reproaches Ulysses because ' consueta gaudens 
venere, quum sis mortalis, cum dea coire noluisti ' (trans, of p. 1820 
in Greek). The preceding words, which I do not venture to quote, 
are even more precisely to the point. 

1. ii. one of the wise men] Thales the wise, being importuned by 
his mother (who pressed hard upon him) to marry, prettily put her 
off, shifting and avoiding her cunningly with words : for at the first 
time, when she was in hand with him, he said unto her : Mother, it 
is too soon, and it is not yet time : afterwards, when he had passed 
the flower of his age, and that she set upon him the second time and 
was ? ery instant : Alas, mother, it is now too late and the time is 
past.' Plutarch, Symposiaques, Bk. iii. Quest. 6. So in Diog. Laert., 
Life of Thales : Keu \eyovviv, on rfji prjTpbs di>ayKaovcrr)s avrov, N;) 
At'a, fXf-yfv, ovSerra> Kaipos. Eira, firfibfj naprjPrjo'fv, fyK(ip.evr)s, tlntiv, ovutTi 
Katpos. Lib. i. sec. 26. 

Montaigne notes the story and with more distinct approval. 
' Thales y donna les plus vrayes bornes ; qui, jeune, respondit a sa 
mere le pressant de se marier, " qu'il n'estoit pas temps " ; et, 
devenu sur Paage, "qu'il n'estoit plus temps."' Essays, bk. ii. 
chap. 8. 

1. 17. but this never fails &c.J Bacon, elsewhere, generalizes on 
this subject. Conf. ' Another reprehension of this colour (viz. quod 
quis culpa sua contraxit, majus malum; quod ab externis imponitur, 
minus malum), is in respect of the well bearing of evils wherewith 
a man can charge nobody but himself, which maketh them the less. 
Levefit quod bene fertur onus. And therefore many natures that are 
either extremely proud and will take no fault to themselves, or else 
very true and cleaving to themselves (when they see the blame of 
anything that falls out ill must light upon themselves), have no other 
shift but to bear it out well, and to make the least of it. ... And 
therefore it is commonly seen, that women that marry husbands of 
their own choosing against their friends' consents, if they be never 
so ill used, yet you shall seldom see them complain, but to set a 
good face on it ' (Colours of Good and Evil, viii). Works, vii. 87. 



THERE be none of the affections which have been noted 
to fascinate or bewitch but love and envy : they both have 
vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into 
imaginations and suggestions ; and they come easily into 
the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects ; 
which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any 
such thing there be. We see, likewise, the Scripture 
calleth envy an evil eye ; and the astrologers call the evil 
influences of the stars evil aspects; so that still there 

10 seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an 
ejaculation, or irradiation of the eye. Nay, some have 
been so curious as to note that the times when the stroke 
or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt are, when 
the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph ; for that 
sets an edge upon envy : and besides, at such times, the 
spirits of the person envied do come forth most into the 
outward parts, and so meet the blow. 

But leaving these curiosities (though not unworthy to 
be thought on in fit place), we will handle what persons 

20 are apt to envy others ; what persons are most subject to 
be envied themselves ; and what is the difference between 
public and private envy. 

A man that hath no virtue in himself ever envieth virtue 
in others ; for men's minds will either feed upon their 
own good, or upon others' evil ; and who wanteth the one 
will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to 
attain to another's virtue will seek to come at even hand 3 
by depressing another's fortune. 

A man that is busy and inquisitive is commonly envious ; 

a to come at even hand} i. e. to come where there is small dispatch.' Essay 

to even terms or to an equality. Lat. 25. And, ' Certainly, if a man will 

ut minor intersit di&paritas. For this keep but of even hand, his ordinary 

use of ' hand,' conf. ' Business is expenses ought to be but to the half 

bought at a dear hand (Lat. magno) of his receipts.' Essay 27. 

OF ENVY. 57 

for to know much of other men's matters cannot be because 
all that ado may concern his own estate b ; therefore 
it must needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure in 
looking upon the fortunes of others : neither can he that 
mindeth but his own business find much matter for envy ; 
for envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, 
and doth not keep home : Non est curiosus, quin idem sit 

Men of noble birth are noted to be envious towards new 
men when they rise ; for the distance is altered ; and it is 10 
like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on they 
think themselves go back. 

Deformed persons and eunuchs and old men and bastards 
are envious : for he that cannot possibly mend his own 
case will do what he can to impair another's ; except these 
defects light upon a very brave and heroical nature, which 
thinketh to make his natural wants part of his honour; in 
that it should be said,, that a eunuch, or a lame man, did 
such great matters, affecting the honour of a miracle : as it 
was in Narses the eunuch, and Agesilaus and Tamerlane 2 
that were lame men. 

The same is the case of men that rise after c calamities 

b his own estate] i. e. his own affairs. Conversely, in Essay 28, we find, 

Lat. suis rebus. Bacon, it will be seen, 'Who hath a state to repair may not 

passim, uses state and estate indiffer- despise small things.' And, in Essay 

ently. They are in fact the same 34, ' A great state left to an heir is a 

word, as are special and especial; stab- lure to all the birds of prey.' Some- 

lish and establish ; statute and the old times, too, the word has a personal 

estatute. His use of estate where sense which we should not now give 

modern usage would give state is very to it, as when Bacon speaks of it as a 

common. Vide infra. ' This public happy thing ' when kings and states 

envy seemeth to beat chiefly upon do often consult with judges.' Essay 

principal officers or ministers, rather 56. So Segar, more distinctly still, in 

than upon kings and estates them- his chapter ' Of honourable places due 

selves.' Then, a few lines further: to great estates,' says, 'A baron is an 

'The envy though hidden is truly upon estate of great dignity in blood honour 

the state itself.' Conf. also, ' For that and habit, a peer of the realm and 

which may concern the sovereign and companion of princes.' Honor Mili- 

estate ; ' followed shortly after by, tary and Civil, bk. iv. cap. 22. 

'when there is matter of law inter- c that rise after Sic.] The Latin, qui e 

vening in business of state.' Essay 56. calamitatibus resurgunt, implies that 


and misfortunes ; for they are as men fallen out with the 
times, and think other men's harms a redemption of their 
own sufferings. 

They that desire to excel in too many matters, out of 
levity and vain-glory, are ever "envious, for they cannot 
want work d : it being impossible but many, in some one 
of those things, should surpass them ; which was the 
character of Adrian the emperor, that mortally envied 
poets and painters, and artificers in works wherein he had 

10 a vein e to excel. 

Lastly, near kinsfolk, and fellows in office, and those 
that have been bred together, are more apt to envy their 
equals when they are raised ; for it doth upbraid f unto 
them their own fortunes, and pointeth at them, and cometh 
oftener into their remembrance, and incurreth 8 likewise 
more into the note of others ; and envy ever redoubleth 
from speech and fame. Cain's envy was the more vile 
and malignant towards his brother Abel, because when 
his sacrifice was better accepted there was no body to 

20 look on. Thus much for those that are apt to envy. 

Concerning those that are more or less subject to envy. 
First, persons of eminent virtue when they are advanced 
are less envied. For their fortune seemeth but due unto 
them ; and no man envieth the payment of a debt, but 
rewards and liberality rather. Again, envy is ever joined 
with the comparing of a man's self ; and where there is no 
comparison, no envy; and therefore kings are not envied 

Bacon means to speak of men who of this construction, now out of date, 

have fallen from a high estate into vide 

calamities and misfortunes, and have ' May they not justly to our climes 

thence risen again. upbraid, 

d cannot want work] Lat. ubique Shortness of night, and penury 

enim occurrunt objecta invidiae. of shade.' 

6 a vein] i. e. an inclination. Lat. Prior, Solomon, bk. i. 293-4. 

qnibits ipse praecellere gestiebat. Conf. B incurreth &c.] i. e. comes more 

' that is a vein which would be bridled.' under the observation of others. The 

Essay 32. Latin in aliorum notam magts incurrit 

f doth upbraid &tc.~] For an instance is clearer than the Latinised English. 

OF ENVY. 59 

but by kings. Nevertheless, it is to be noted that unworthy h 
persons are most envied at their first coming in, and 
afterwards overcome it better ; whereas, contrariwise, 
persons of worth and merit are most envied when their 
fortune continueth long ; for by that time, though their 
virtue be the same, yet it hath not the same lustre ; for 
fresh men grow up that darken it. 

Persons of noble blood are less envied in their rising ; 
for it seemeth but right done to their birth : besides, there 
seemeth not much added to their fortune ; and envy is as 10 
the sunbeams, that beat hotter upon a bank or steep rising 
ground than upon a flat ; and, for the same reason, those 
that are advanced by degrees are less envied than those 
that are advanced suddenly and per saltum. 

Those that have joined with their honour great travels ', 
cares, or perils, are less subject to envy; for men think 
that they earn their honours hardly, and pity them some 
times ; and pity ever healeth envy : wherefore you shall 
observe, that the more deep and sober sort of politic persons, 
in their greatness, are ever bemoaning themselves what a > 
life they lead, chanting a quanta patimur; not that they 
feel it so, but only to abate the edge of envy. But this 
is to be understood of business that is laid upon men, and 
not such as they call unto themselves ; for nothing 
increaseth envy more than an unnecessary and ambitious 
engrossing of business ; and nothing doth extinguish 
envy more than for a great person to preserve all other 
inferior officers in their full rights and pre-eminences of 
their places ; for by that means there be so many screens 
between him and envy. 30 

h unworthy} Probably, undeserving. touching penal laws) may be considered 

Lat. indignis. A sense on the whole and discerned of by the LordTreasurer.' 

best suited to the passage. Letters and Life, iv. 104. 

i great travels] i.e. travails. Lat. Bacon almost always uses /raw/where 

labores magnos. Conf. 'And most we should use travail, and travaile where 

specially that the travels therein taken we should use travel. In Essay 18, this is 

(i. e. in Sir Stephen Proctor's project the spelling of the original throughout. 


Above all, those are most subject to envy which carry 
the greatness of their fortunes in an insolent and proud 
manner : being never well but while they are showing 
how great they are, either by outward pomp, or by 
triumphing over all opposition or competition : whereas 
wise men will rather do sacrifice to envy, in suffering 
themselves, sometimes of purpose, to be crossed and 
overborne in things that do not much concern them. 
Notwithstanding so much is true, that the carriage of 

10 greatness in a plain and open manner (so it be without 
arrogancy and vain-glory) doth draw less envy than if 
it be in a more crafty and cunning fashion ; for in that 
course a man doth but disavow fortune k , and seemeth to 
be conscious of his own want in worth, and doth but teach 
others to envy him. 

Lastly, to conclude this part, as we said in the beginning 
that the act of envy had somewhat in it of witchcraft, so 
there is no other cure of envy but the cure of witchcraft ; 
and that is, to remove the lot l (as they call it) and to lay 

20 it upon another ; for which purpose the wiser sort of 
great persons bring in ever upon the stage somebody 
upon whom to derive m the envy that would come upon 
themselves; sometimes upon ministers and servants, 
sometimes upon colleagues and associates, and the like ; 
and, for that turn, there are never wanting some persons of 
violent and undertaking natures, who, so they may have 
power and business, will take it at any cost. 

Now, to speak of public envy: there is yet some good 
in public envy; whereas in private there is none; for 

50 public envy is as an ostracism, that eclipseth men when 

k doth but disavow &c.] i. e. does man by witchcraft. Vide note at end 

but admit that fortune is to blame of Essay. 

for having used him better than m to derive} i. e. to draw off, or 

he deserved. Lat. nihil aliud divert. Conf. ' As natural water . . . 

facit quis, quam ut fortunam insimu- is first forced up into a cistern and 

let. thence fetched and derived for use.' 

1 the lot] i. e. the spell cast upon a Works, iii. 483. 

OF ENVY. 61 

they grow too great ; and therefore it is a bridle also to 
great ones, to keep them within bounds. 

This envy, being in the Latin word invidia, goeth in 
the modern languages by the name of discontentment ; of 
which we shall speak in handling sedition. It is a 
disease in a state like to infection ; for, as infection 
spreadeth upon that which is sound and tainteth it, 
so, when envy is gotten once into a state, it traduceth 
even the best actions thereof and turneth them into an 
ill odour ; and therefore there is little won by intermingling 
of plausible actions n ; for that doth argue but a weakness 
and fear Df envy, which hurteth so much the more, as it is 
likewise usual in infections, which, if you fear them, you 
call them upon you. 

This public envy seemeth to beat chiefly upon principal 
officers or ministers, rather than upon kings and estates 
themselves. But this is a sure rule, that if the envy upon 
the minister be great when the cause of it in him is small ; 
or if the envy be general in a manner upon all the ministers 
of an estate, then the envy (though hidden) is truly upon 
the state itself. And so much of public envy or discon 
tentment, and the difference thereof from private envy, 
which was handled in the first place. 

We will add this in general touching the affection of 
envy, that of all other affections it is the most importune 
and continual ; for of other affections there is occasion 
given but now and then ; and therefore it was well said, 
Invidia festos dies non agit : for it is ever working upon 
some or other. And it is also noted that love and envy do 
make a man pine, which other affections do not, because 

plausible actions] Lat. gratas et state and the most plausible and which 

populares. Plausible may be either ought to give greatest contentment.' 

courting applause or deserving applause. Essay 15. 

Bacon uses the word in both senses of all other &c.] i. e. more im- 

' Judges ought to be more reverend portune (or importunate) than any 

than plausible.' Lat. gratiosum. Es- other affection. Vide note on Essay 

say 56. And, ' The best actions of a 3. 


they are not so continual. It is also the vilest affection, 
and the most depraved ; for which cause it is the proper 
attribute of the devil, who is called The envious man, that 
soweth tares amongst the wheat by night ; as it always 
cometh to pass that envy worketh subtilely, and in the 
dark, and to the prejudice of good things, such as is the 


In this Essay, the word envy is used equivocally. What 
Bacon terms 'private envy' is generally envy in the ordinary 
sense : sometimes it is malevolence, the Greek eVixaipe/caicia. Public 
envy is explained as discontentment. Thus, when Bacon remarks 
that where there is no comparison there is no envy, and that there 
fore kings are not envied but by kings, he is using envy in the 
former sense. When he says that in certain named cases the envy 
is on the state (Lat. invidia regem aut statum ipsum petit) he is using 
the word in the latter sense as = disaffection or discontent. 

P. 56, 1. i. none of the affections] Conf. Plutarch, 'There grew some 
question upon a time, at the table, as touching those that are 
reported to be eye-biters, or to bewitch with their eyes .... The 
scent, the voice, the speech, the breath, be certain defluxions and 

streams, as it were, flowing from the bodies of living creatures 

and great likelihood there is also that the same should pass from the 
eye more than from any other conduit of the body : for the sight, 
being a sense very swift, active, and nimble, doth send forth and 
disperse from it a wonderful fiery puissance, together with a spirit 
that carrieth and directeth it .... Love, one of the greatest and most 
vehement passions of the mind, hath the source and original 
beginning at the eye ... for the very aspect and regard of such 
persons as are in the flower of their beauty, and that which passeth 
from their eyes, whether it be light or flowing off of the spirits, doth 
liquifie and consume those that be enamoured on them .... Then 
Patrocleas ; " True in bodily passions ; but how is it possible that the 
only cast or regard of the eye should transmit any noisance or hurt 
into the body of another?" The answer is that 'envy filleth the 
body with an untoward and bad disposition ; when therefore they 
who be infected with envy do cast their eyes upon others, and so 
shoot their venomous rays, like unto poisoned darts upon them, if 
such chance to be wounded and hurt thereby whom they look upon 
and wistly behold, I see no strange thing nor a matter incredible.' 
Symposiaques, Bk. v., Question 7. 

OF ENVY. 63 

Plutarch adds much more to the same effect, but the entire passage 
is too long to quote. 

1. 2. they both have &c.] Bacon here, to use his own words, 
ajfingit parallela quae non sunt. Love has vehement wishes, but these 
belong to the person fascinated, to the lover. The vehement wishes 
of envy belong to the person fascinating, to the envious man. The 
same confusion of thought runs through the whole clause. 

1. 6. fascination} ' Fascination is the power and act of imagina 
tion, intensive upon other bodies than the body of the imaginant.' 
Works, iii. 381. 

1. 7. Scripture calleth &c.] Vide St. Mark vii. 22. But it is 
obvious to remark that the evil eye of Scripture, 6(f>da\fj.os novrjpos, 
implies at most the wish to do harm. There is no hint given of 
power to do mischief by an irradiation. 

1. 9. influences of the stars] This is the recognised astrological 
term for the power exercised by the stars. Conf. ' That is the fume 
of those that conceive the celestial bodies have more accurate 
influences upon those things below than indeed they have.' Essay 
58. So Milton : 

' With store of Ladies, whose bright eyes 
Rain influence, and judge the prize.' L' Allegro, 121. 
1. 9. aspects] Aspect, according to Kepler, is determined by the 
angle formed by the rays from two planets coming to a point on the 
earth. Conf. ' Aspectus est in mera incidentia seu concursu radiorum 
.... Sequitur operatic quia binorum radii certo angulo in puncto eo 
concurrunt, in quo collocatur res immateriata, aspectus receptiva 
facultas, nempe animalis.' Kepleri Opera, i. 371. Frisch 1857. 

Sir Christopher Heydon, an astrological writer of Bacon's day, 
frequently uses this word. In one passage it shifts into irradiations, 
and may be therefore so understood. ' Wherefore three aequaliter 
Hexagons or three A Aspects do also fill the whole space about the 
center. To which we may not improperly add the opposite aspect. 

These speculations therefore considered, it were senseless to 

imagine that Nature hath so many ways honored these Irradiations of 
the Stars in vain, and admonished us to a special regard of them .... 
if they were not indued with more virtue than others.' Astrological 
Discourse, sec. xvii. 

It is used also to mean the relations of the heavenly bodies to one 
another ; the positions from which they may be said to regard one 

Conf. ' In astronomy it signifieth the distance between the planets 
and the heavenly signs. And there are four such aspects. The 
first called a Trine Aspect (because it divideth the heavens into 
three even parts) is the distance of four signs from each other : as 
Aries beholdeth Leo and Sagittarius with a Trine Aspect, because 


they are distant four signs, the one before, the other after. The 
second called a Quartill is the distance of three signs, as Aries 
beholdeth Cancer and Capricornus with a Quartill Aspect, because 
they are distant three signs from him.' He goes on to say that the 
aspect is Sextill where the distance is two signs, and Opposite where 
the distance is six. Bullokar, English Expositor, sub voce. 

Shakespeare uses it, as Bacon does, of the gaze of the heavenly 
bodies upon the earth : 

' HERMIONE. There's some ill planet reigns : 

I must be patient, till the heavens look 
With an aspect more favourable.' 

Winter's Tale, act ii. sc. i. 

1. ii. Nay, some have been so curious &c.] What Bacon says else 
where about ' spirits ' may serve to explain what he speaks of here 
as not unworthy to be thought on in fit place. He lays it down as a 
most certain fact that 'inest omni tangibili spiritus, corpore cras- 
siore obtectus et obsessus. . . . Nullum corpus nobis notum, hie in 
superiore parte terrae, spiritu vacat. Spiritus autem ille non est 
virtus aliqua, aut energia aut entelechia aut nugae ; sed plane corpus 
tenue, invisibile ; attamen locatum, dimensum, reale. In omnibus 
animatis duo sunt genera spirituum : spiritus mortuales, quales sunt 
inanimatis ; et superadditus spiritus vitalis. Spiritus mortuales aeri 
proxime consubstantiales sunt : spiritus vitales magis accedunt ad 
substantiam fiammae. Flamma substantia momentanea est : aer 
fixa : spiritus vivi in animalibus media est ratio.' Works, ii. 213, 214, 
216, 225. 

This then is what Bacon means when he speaks of spirits. The 
working and effect of these spirits are described also. But the 
passage which comes closest to the Essay is in the Natural History, 
where the theory of the Essay is stated very fully: 'The affections 
(no doubt) do make the spirits more powerful and active : and 
especially those affections which draw the spirits into the eyes : 

which are two : love and envy which is called oculus malus 

And this is observed likewise ; that the aspects that procure love are 
not gazings, but sudden glances and dartings of the eye. As for 
envy, that emitteth some malign and poisonous spirit, which taketh 
hold of the spirit of another ; and is likewise of greatest force when 
the cast of the eye is oblique. It hath been noted also, that it is 
most dangerous when an envious eye is cast upon persons in glory 
and triumph and joy : the reason whereof is, for that at such times 
the spirits come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the 
percussion of the envious eye more at hand : and therefore it hath 
been noted that after great triumphs men have been ill-disposed for 
some days following.' Works, ii. 653. 

OF ENVY. 65 

That the eye of envy was especially dangerous to men at the time 
of their prosperity, or during great exaltation of mind, was a common 
belief with Greeks and Romans. Hence we find various forms of 
deprecation, both of envy and of the prosperity which gives occasion 
to it. 

Conf. e. g. : ' Aut si ultra placitum (i. e. so as to displease the higher 
powers) laudarit, baccare frontem Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua 
futuro.' Virg. Eel. vii. 27, 28 (and Conington's note). 

P. 57, 1. 7. Non est c.] ' Nam curiosus nemo est quin sit male- 
volus.' Plaut. Stichus i. 3, 1. 54. 

1. 13. Deformed persons and eunuchs] I think that this stroke is 
aimed at his cousin the Earl of Salisbury and at Lord Keeper 
Williams. On his relations with the Earl of Salisbury, conf. note on 
Essay 44, on Deformity. As regards Lord Keeper Williams, Bacon 
may well have thought that Williams had done what he could to 
impair his case. His fall and disgrace had been due in great part to 
the advice of Williams to the King and Buckingham to further the 
demand raised in the Parliament of 1621 for reform and for the 
redress of grievances, and to give no support to the persons who 
were the just objects of attack. Subsequently, too, Bacon's pardon 
was stayed at the seal by Williams who was then Lord Keeper, and 
was only passed after some delay and probably under pressure from 
the King. That Williams was a eunuch appears in his Life by 
Hacket, Part i. p. 8. 

1. 20. Agesilaus} ( As for the deformity of his legs, the one being 
shorter than the other, in the flower of his youth, through his 
pleasant wit, he used the matter so pleasantly and patiently that he 
would merrily mock himself: which manner of merry behaviour did 
greatly hide the blame of the blemish. Yea further, his life and 
courage was the more commendable in him, for that men saw that 
notwithstanding his lameness he refused no pains nor labour.' 
Plutarch (Life of Agesilaus), Lives, p. 612. 

1. 20. Tamerlane] That Tamerlane was lame is certain ; but 
whether he was so born or was lamed by a wound received in one 
of his early battles, Gibbon leaves in doubt. His character has been 
very variously drawn, but on his stupendous achievements all writers 
agree. The name is a European corruption of the Turkish Timour 
lenc or Timour the lame. Vide Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. 65. 

1. 22. The same is the case of men &c.] Bacon may have written 
this with some recollection of his old enemy, Coke. Coke had fallen 
under the King's displeasure and had been deprived of his place 
as Chief Justice, and had afterwards been received back into favour, 
had taken his old place at the Council-board, and had been employed 
in the King's affairs. In the inquiry, in the Parliament of 1620-21, 
about unlawful patents and monopolies, in the advising and granting 



of which Bacon had had a principal part, it was Coke who was most 
forward and persisted in so shaping the proceedings that Bacon 
should not escape. Conf. Letters and Life, vii, chap. 5, sec. 8 and 9. 
Bacon was well aware of this. It was of vital consequence to him that 
there should be no question raised about the past, 'and so not to 
look back but to the future : And I do hear,' he writes to Buckingham, 
' almost all men of judgment in the house wish now that way. I 
woo nobody : I do but listen, and I have doubt only of Sir Edward 
Coke.' Letters and Life, vii. 192. His doubt was justified by the 

P. 58, 1. 8. Adrian the Emperor} ' Quamvis esset oratione et versu 
promptissimus, et in omnibus artibus peritissimus, turn professores 
omnium artium semper ut doctior risit, contempsit, obtrivit. Cum 
his ipsis professoribus et philosophis, libris vel carminibus invicem 
editis certavit. Et Favorinus quidem, cum verbum ejus quoddam ab 
Hadriano reprehensum esset atque ille cessisset, arguentibus amicis 
quod male cederet Hadriano de verbo quod idonei auctores usur- 
passent, risum jucundissimum movit. Ait enim, Non recte suadetis, 
familiares, qui non patimini me ilium doctiorem omnibus credere 
qui habet triginta legiones.' Spartiani Hadrianus, p. 141. (Erasmus, 
Vitae Caesarum, fol. 1546.) 

P. 59, 1. 15. Those that have joined &c.] Conf. ' Men ordinarily bear 
envy unto those who seem to acquire glory gratis, without any cost and 
to come by virtue easily . . . whereas seldom or never they envy 
such as have bought the same very dear, with many travails and 
great dangers.' Plutarch, Morals, 253. 

1. 20. are ever bemoaning themselves} Conf. the following extracts 
from The State and Dignity of a Secretary of State's place, with 
the care and peril thereof by Robert, Earl of Salisbury : ' All men 
of war do malign them except they will be at their desires. Their 
fellow counsellors envy them . . . and wheresoever a prince hath 
cause to delay or deny, to search or punish, none so soon bear so 
much burden. . . . The place of secretary is dreadful if he serve 
not a constant prince. ... If such an one should find that his hope 
cannot warrant him, no not against the slanders of those wicked 
ones whom he must use only, then surely that secretary must resolve 
that the first day of his entry is the first day of his misery.' Somers' 
Tracts, vol. v. 553 (second edition). Bacon, too, makes constant 
complaint about the toil and distastefulness of offices which it was 
the effort of his life to reach. Vide Essay u and note on Essay 38. 

P. 60, 1. 19. to remove the lot~\ Conf. Bodin, De la Demonomanie des 
Sorciers, lib. iii. cap. 2 (published 1580). ' En second lieu on tient 
que si les Sorciers guerissent un homme maleficie, il faut qu'ils 
donnent le Sort a un autre. Cela est vulgaire par la confession de 
plusieurs Sorciers. Et de faict j'ay vu un prisonnier a Paris 1'an 1569, 

OF LOVE. 67 

qui guerissoit les chevaux et les hommes quelquesfois : . . . Un jour 
ayant donne le Sort au cheval d'un -gentilhomme, on vint a luy, il 
guerit et donna le Sort a son homme : on vint a luy pour guerir aussi 
1'homme : II fist response qu'on demandast au gentilhomme lequel 
il aymait mieux perdre son homme ou son cheval : le gentilhomme 
se trouva bien empesche : et cependant qu'il deliberoit, son homme 
mourut, et le Sorcier fut pris. Et faict a noter que le diable veut 
toujours gaigner au change . . . et si le Sorcier ne donne le Sort a un 
autre, il est en danger de sa vie.' Bodin gives several instances of this. 
So Alexander Roberts, whose Treatise of Witchcraft (1616) is largely 
copied from Bodin, in his eighth proposition (or chapter) writes, 
'If the evill be taken from the person presently afflicted then it is 
layd upon his friends children or cattell, and sometime it falleth 
to the lot of the witche herself.' 

P. 61, 1. 28. Invidia festos dies non agit~\ This sentence occurs also 
in the Antitheta under ' Invidia.' Works, i. p. 695. Conf. also, ' Invidia 
pessima est, et carpit spiritus, atque illi rursus corpus ; eo magis, 
quod fere perpetua est, nee agit (ut dicitur) festos dies.' Works, ii. 
172. Cardan writes to the same effect, but not in the same words : 
' Invidia Siculi non invenere tyranni majus tormentum. nam praeter 
id quod maxime discruciet, nullum finem velut reliqua vitia invenit. 
Ira enim defervescit, gula satiatur . . . invidia nunquam quiescit, cum 
semper aliquem esse necesse sit, imo plures qui te ipso vel aetate 
vel divitiis vel forma aut virtute sint beatiores.' Cardan, De Sap. 
lib. ii. (ed. 4to. 1543) p. 88. 

P. 62, 1. 3. The envious man] Vide Matthew xiii. 25. But the text 
says nothing about an envious man. The Greek is e'^fyoy, the Vulgate 
inimicus, the English, his enemy. 



THE stage is more beholding a to love than the life of 
man ; for as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, 

8 beholding'] i. e. beholden. Lat. And, < For the expressing of affections. 

plus debet. This obsolete form was in passions, corruptions and customs, we 

common use in Bacon's day. Conf. are beholding to poets more than to 

' Wherein I must acknowledge myself the philosophers' works.' Works, HI. 

beholding to you.' Works, vi. 539. 346, and passim. 

F 2 

68 ESSAY X. 

and now and then of tragedies ; but in life it doth much 
mischief, sometimes like a Siren, sometimes like a Fury. 
You may observe that amongst all the great and worthy 
persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or 
recent), there is not one that hath been transported to the 
mad degree of love, which shows that great spirits and 
great business do keep out this weak passion. You must 
except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of 
the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the Decemvir 

10 and lawgiver ; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous 
man, and inordinate ; but the latter was an austere and 
wise man : and therefore it seems (though rarely) that love 
can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also 
into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept. It is 
a poor saying of Epicurus, Satis magnum alter alteri thea- 
trum sumus: as if man, made for the contemplation of 
heaven and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel 
before a little idol b , and make himself subject, though not 
of the mouth (as beasts are), yet of the eye, which was given 

20 him for higher purposes. It is a strange thing to note 
the excess of this passion, and how it braves c the nature 
and value of things, by this, that the speaking in a per 
petual hyperbole is comely in nothing but in love. Neither 
is it merely in the phrase ; for whereas it hath been well 

b a little idoT\ i. e. a little image or text, of over-adorns, praises in terms 

puppet. The notion of it as an object of excess. For the former of these 

of worship is conveyed by the verb, senses, conf. 

not by the noun itself. Conf. ' Never- <Jhou wil( . braye me with these 

theless it was not her meaning . . . that saucy terms ' 

this disguised idol should possess the Henry VI; p art ^ act iy sc IQ 
crown.' Works, vi. 46. And, 'He 

knew the pretended Plantagenet to be For the latter, 

but an idol.' Page 52. ' KING. Who saw the sun to day? 

c braves the nature of things] i. e. de- RAT. Not I, my lord. 

fies (Lat. insultei] by speaking of them KING. Then he disdains to shine ; 

in perpetual hyperbole, with no regard for, by the book, 

to what they really are. But the word He should have braved the east an 

may mean also makes brave, i.e. adorns, hour ago.' 

with the further sense, from the con- Richard III, act v. sc. 3. 

OF LOVE. 69 

said that the arch flatterer, with whom all the petty flat 
terers have intelligence, is a man's self, certainly the lover 
is more; for there was never proud man thought so ab 
surdly well of himself as the lover doth of the person 
loved ; and therefore it was well said That it is impossible 
to love and to be wise. Neither doth this weakness appear 
to others only, and not to the party loved, but to the loved 
most of all, except the love be reciproojje ; for it is a true 
rule, that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciproque, 
or with an inward and secret contempt ; by how much the 10 
more d men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth 
not only other things but itself. As for the other losses, 
the poet's relation doth well figure them : That he that 
preferred Helena, quitted the gifts of Juno and Pallas ; 
for whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection, 
quitteth both riches and wisdom. This passion hath his 
floods in the very times of weakness, which are, great pro 
sperity and great adversity, though this latter hath been 
less observed ; both which times kindle love, and make it 
more fervent, and therefore show it to be the child of 2 
folly. They do best who, if they cannot but admit love, 
yet make it keep quarter e , and sever it wholly from their 
serious affairs and actions of life ; for if it check f once 
with business, it troubleth men's fortunes, and maketh 
men that they can no ways be true to their own ends. I 
know not how, but martial men are given to love : I think 
it is but as they are given to wine, for perils commonly ask 
to be paid in pleasures. There is in man's nature a secret 
inclination and motion towards love of others, which, if it 

d by how much the more] Lat. quo Shall pass his quarter.' 

rnagis. Conf. Note on Essay 6, Timon of Athens, act v. sc. 5. 

p. 43. f if it check] i. e. interfere. Lat si 

6 make it keep quarter] i. e. keep se immisceat. Conf. ' Suspicions . . . 

its proper place. Lat. in ordinem redi- cloud the mind, they lose friends, 

gunt. French qui font garder a cette and they check with business, whereby 

affection son quartier. Conf. business cannot go on currently and 

' Not a man constantly.' Essay 31. 

70 ESSAY X. 

be not spent upon some one or a few, doth naturally spread 
itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and 
charitable, as it is seen sometime in friars. Nujjtial love 
maketh mankind, friendly love perfecteth it, but wanton 
love corrupteth and imbaseth it. 


P. 68, 1. 2. like a Siren] Conf. Wisdom of the Ancients, xxxi, where 
Bacon explains the fable of the Sirens as an allegory on the allure 
ments of pleasures. Works, vi. 684. 

1. 6. great spirits and great business] Vide Paradise Regained, 
bk. ii. 149-227, where, in course of a consultation among the poten 
tates of Hell how to tempt Christ, Satan, arguing on the uselessness 
of tempting him with women, says inter alia : 

' Among the sons of men 

How many have with a smile made small account 
Of beauty and her lures, easily scorned 
All her assaults on worthier things intent. 

- He whom we attempt is wiser far 
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind, 
Made and set solely on the accomplishment 
Of greatest things.' 

1. 15. a poor saying of Epicurus] The meaning of these words is 
singularly perverted here. They are quoted by Seneca, as one of 
several authorities in proof that the opinion of the multitude is of 
no value or account. ' Egregie hoc tertium Epicurus, cum uni ex 
consortibus studiorum suorum scriberet : Haec, inquit, ego non multis, 
sed tibi : satis enim magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus. Ista, mi 
Lucili, condenda in animum sunt, ut contemnas voluptatem ex 
plurium assensione venientem. Multi te laudant. Ecquid habes 
cur placeas tibi si is es quern multi intelligant ? ' Seneca, Ep. vii. 
subfinem. The passage is also quoted in the Advancement of 
Learning, where Bacon remarking on a fault commonly incident to 
learned men, 'that they fail sometimes in applying themselves to 
particular persons,' adds, 'for it is speech for a lover and not for 
a wise man, Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus.' Works, iii. 

P. 69, 1. i. the arch flatterer] ' Plato writeth . . . The lover is ordinarily 
blinded in the thing that he loveth, unless he have been taught, yea, 
and accustomed long before to affect and esteem things honest 
above those that be his own properly, or inbred and familiar to him. 

OF LOVE. 71 

This is it that giveth unto a flatterer that large field, under pretence 
of friendship, where he hath a fort (as it were) commodiously seated, 
and with the vantage to assail and endammage us, and that is Self- 
love : whereby every man being the first and greatest flatterer of 
himself, he can be very well content to admit a stranger to come 
near and flatter him, namely, when he thinketh and is well willing 
withal to witness with him, and to confirm that good self-conceit, 
and opinion of his own.' Plutarch, Morals, p. 69. 

The reference to Plato is to the Laws, bk. v. p. 731 D, et seq. 
The application of this to the flatterer is Plutarch's own. 

Conf. also Essay 27 : ' There is no such flatterer as a man's self.' 
And Essay 53 : 'If he be a cunning flatterer, he will follow the arch- 
flatterer, which is a man's self.' 

1. 5. it was well said] Conf. Publii Syri Fragmenta, De amore 
et foemina, 3 : 

'Amare et sapere vix Deo conceditur.' 

And Plutarch, Life of Agesilaus : ' One day when he was driven to 
remove in haste on a sudden, and to leave one sick behind him 
whom he loved dearly ; the sick man calling him by his name as he 
was going his way, besought him that he would not forsake him. 
Agesilaus (as Hieronymus the Philosopher reporteth) turned back 
again and said : O how hard it is both to love and be wise.' North's 
Trans., p. 617. 
1. 13. The poet's relation} 

' Praeposui regnis ego te : quae maxima quondam 

Pollicita est nobis nupta sororque Jovis. 
Dumque tuo possem circumdare brachia collo, 
Contemta est virtus Pallade dante mini.' 

Ovid, Heroides, xvi. Paris Helenae, 163-166. 

1. 22. make it keep quarter &c.] Bacon had a good right to give 
this advice. His own matrimonial projects were conducted in strict 
agreement with it. He appears first, in 1597, as a suitor to Lady 
Hatton, a young and wealthy widow, at a time when he himself was 
in especial need of money. Finding or anticipating difficulties, he 
appealed to Essex for help. The terms of his letter are not those 
of a man who suffered love ' to check with business.' ' I brake with 
your Lordship myself at the Tower, and I take it my brother hath 
since renewed the same motion, touching a fortune I was in thought 
to attempt in genere oeconomico.' ' My suit to your Lordship is for 
your several letters to be left with me, dormant, to the gentlewoman 
and either of her parents ; wherein I do not doubt but as the beams 
of your favour have often dissolved the coldness of my fortune, so 
in this argument your Lordship will do the like with your pen.' The 
request was complied with, but the suit came to nothing, All that 
is known about it is given in Letters and Life, ii. 53-55. 


In his next venture he was more successful. The first intimation 
which we have of it is in a letter dated 1603 to Robert Lord Cecil, in 
which he gives among the reasons that led him to wish to be 
knighted ' I have found out an alderman's daughter, an handsome 
maiden, to my liking.' Letters and Life, iii. 80. The lady was Alice, 
daughter of Alderman Barnham, and co-heiress with her three 
sisters to her deceased father's estate. After a delay of some years 
he was married to her in the spring of 1606. Letters and Life, iii. 
290. The rest may be conjectured from a passage in his last will 
and testament, dated Dec. 19, 1625 : ' Whatsoever I have given, 
granted, confirmed or appointed to my wife, in the former part of 
this my will, I do now, for just and great causes, utterly revoke and 
make void, and leave her to her right only.' Letters and Life, vii. 


1. 26. martial men are given to love] Conf. "ii<rr' dvayKaiov *v rfj 
i/Ty TroXireta Tifj.d(r6ai rbv TrXoOroi', aXXcos T Kav TVXOMTI yvvaiKOKparov- 
i, KaSdnep TO. TroXXa T>V crrptmamKaif KOI 7ro\fniKa>v ytvutv .... "EoiKf 
yap 6 fjLvdoXoyrjo-as irparos OVK d\6ya>s crv(vi-ai Tov"Apr) irpbs TTJV 'A.<ppo&LTr)v. 
fj yap irpbs rf]v TU>V dppevav 6p.i\iav 77 npbs TTJV r<av yvvaiK&v (paivovrai Kara- 
Koixip-ot ndvres ol TOIOVTOI. Arist. Pol. ii. 9, sees. 7 and 8. And ' A 
man at arms is always void of ceremony, which is the wall that 
stands betwixt Piramus and Thisbe, that is man and woman .... 
This kind of bashfulness is far from men of valorous disposition and 
especially from soldiers : for such are ever men without doubt, for 
ward and confident, losing no time lest they should lose opportunity, 
which is the best factor for a lover,' c. Valour Anatomized, by 
Sir Philip Sidney. Somers' Tracts, i. 496 (2nd edition). 


MEN in great place are thrice servants : servants of the 
sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of 
business ; so as they have no freedom, neither in their 
persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is 
a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty ; or to 
seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's 



self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains 
men come to greater pains ; and it is sometimes base, and' 
by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is 
slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least 
an eclipse, which isTa melancholy thing : Cum non sis qui 
fueris, non esse cur velis vivere. Nay, retire men cannot 
when they would, neither will they when it were reason ; 
but are impatient of privateness even in age and sickness, 
which require the shadow a ; like old townsmen, that will 
be still sitting at their street-door, though thereby they 10 
offer age to scorn. Certainly great persons had need to 
borrow other men's opinions to think themselves happy ; 
for if they judge by their own feeling they cannot find it : 
but if they think with themselves what other men think of 
them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then 
they are happy as it were by report, when, perhaps, they 
find the contrary within ; for they are the first that find 
their own griefs, though they be the last that find their 
own faults. Certainly, men in great fortunes are strangers 
to themselves, and while they are in the puzzle of business b 20 
they have no time to tend their health either of body or 
mind. I Hi mors grams incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, 
ignotus moritur sibi. In place there is license to do good 
and evil ; whereof the latter is a curse : for in evil the best 
condition is not to will, the second not to can c . But 
power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring ; 
for good thoughts (though God accept them) yet towards 
men are little better than good dreams, except they be put 

* the shadoiv] i. e. an indoor life, con 
trasted in the next clause with ' sitting 
at their street-door.' Conf. 'That hath 
not been softened by an umbratile life, 
still under the roof, but strengthened 
by the use of the pure and open air.' 
Letters and Life, i. 138. And, ' Handi 
craftsmen and they that sit always, 
being bred up in the shadow.' Bodin, 
Commonweal, v. 5 ^Knolles' trans.). 

b the puzzle of business] Lat. dum 
negotiis distrahuntur. Fr. la meslee des 

c not to can~] Lat. non posse. In 
Ainsworth's Latin Dictionary, to can 
is given as one of the English equi 
valents of possum. Conf. also, 
'He could no skill to tune a harp 
nor a violl.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 



in act ; and that cannot be without power and place, as 
the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good 
works is the end of man's motion ; and conscience d of the 
same is the accomplishment of man's rest : for if a man 
can be partaker of God's theatre 6 , he shall likewise be 
partaker of God's rest. Et conversus Deus, ut aspiceret 
opera quae/ecerunt manus suae, viditquod omnia essent bona 
nimis ; and then the Sabbath. 

In the discharge of thy place set before thee the best 
10 examples ; for imitation is a globe of precepts f ; and after 
a time set before thee thine own example ; and examine 
thyself strictly whether thou didst not best at first. 
Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried 
themselves ill in the same place ; not to set off thyself by 
taxing their memory g , but to direct thyself what to avoid. 
Reform, therefore, without bravery 11 or scandal of former 

A conscience] i.e. consciousness. Conf. 
' The conscience of good intentions, 
howsoever succeeding, is a more con 
tinual joy to nature than all the pro 
vision which can be made for security 
and repose.' Works, iii. 423. And, 
' The reason why the simpler sort are 
moved with authority is the conscience 
of their own ignorance.' Hooker, 
Eccles. Polity, bk. ii. cap. 7, sec. 2. 

e can be partaker of God 's theatre'] i.e. 
if a man can see, as God saw, that the 
works which his hands have made are 
very good. As the Sabbath, the day 
of rest, was the close of God's work, so 
will it be with the man who has worked 
after the same model. Bacon's prayer, 
called by him 'The Writer's Prayer,' 
follows the same line of thought, but 
instead of ' theatre ' uses the word 
' vision,' thus marking the sense in 
which ' theatre ' is here to be under 
stood. ' Wherefore if we labour in 
thy works with the sweat of our 
brows, thou wilt make us partakers 
of thy Vision and thy Sabbath.' 
Works, vii. 260. The same passage 

occurs, almost word for word, in the 
Latin, at the close of the Distribu- 
tio Operis : Quare si in operibus 
tuis sudabintus, fades nos visionis 
tuae et Sabbati tui participes. Works, 

i- 145- 

f a globe of precepts] i. e. a compact 
condensed mass. 

taxing their memory] i. e finding 
fault with. Lat. eorum memoriam 
carpendo. Conf. ' In common speech, 
(which leaves no virtue untaxed,) he 
was called cymini sector.' Works, iii. 
305. And, ' We, as Cato inveighed 
against Isocrates' scholars, may justly 
tax our wrangling lawyers they do 
consenescere in litibus, are so litigious 
and busie here on earth that I think 
they will plead their clients' causes 
hereafter, some of them, in hell.' 
Burton, Anat. of Melancholy (1837), 
vol. i. p. 73. 

h without bravery] i. e. ostentation ; 
bravado. Lat. sine elatione tui ipsius. 
Conf. ' Such as love business rather 
upon conscience than upon bravery.' 
Essay 36. 


times and persons ; but yet set it down to thyself, as well 
to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce 
things to the first institution, and observe wherein and how 
they have degenerated ; but yet ask counsel of both times ; 
of the ancient time what is best, and of the latter time 
what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular, that 
men may know beforehand what they may expect; but 
be not too positive ' and peremptory ; and express thyself 
well when thou digressest from thy rule. Preserve the 
right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and i 
rather assume thy right in silence and de facto, than voice 
it k with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the 
rights of inferior places ; and think it more honour to 
direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite 
helps and advices touching the execution of thy place ; 
and do not drive away such as bring thee information as 
meddlers, but accept of them in good part. 

The vices of authority are chiefly four : delays, corruption, 
roughness, and facility 1 . For delays, give easy access ; 
keep times appointed ; go through with that which is in 20 
hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For 
corruption, do not only bind thine own hands or thy 
servants' hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors 
also from offering; for integrity used doth the one; but 
integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of 
bribery, doth the other ; and avoid not only the fault, but 
the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and 'changeth 
manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of 
corruption : therefore, always when thou changest thine 
opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together 30 
with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think 

1 positive] Lat. pertinax. to voice the Parliament to be for some 

k voice it] i.e. assert it openly. The other business of estate.' Letters and 

Latin here transposes noun and veib, Life, iv. 372. 

cum strepitu susrites. For word, conf. l facility] \. e. over-readiness to yield, 

' The more ancient form, which was weakness. 


to steal it m . A servant or a favourite, if he be inward n , 
and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly 
thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, 
it is a needless cause of discontent: severity breedeth 
fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from 
authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for 
facility, it is worse than bribery ; for bribes come but now 
and then ; but if importunity or idle respects lead a man, 
he shall never be without; as Salomon saith, To respect 

10 persons is not good ; for such a man will transgress for 
a piece of bread. 

It is most true that was anciently spoken ; A place 
showeth the man; and it showeth some to the better and 
some to the worse : Omnium consensu capax imperil, nisi 
imperasset, saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian he 
saith, Sohis imperantium Vespasianus mutatus in melius ; 
though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other 
of manners and affection. It is an assured sign of a 
worthy and generous spirit, whom honour amends ; for 

20 honour is or should be the place of virtue ; and as in 
nature things move violently to their place and calmly in 
their place, so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority 
settled and calm. All rising to great place is by a winding 
stair ; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man's 
self p whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself 
when he is placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor 
fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will 

ra to steal if] i. e. to do it stealthily. side, induceth trust and inwardness.' 

Lat. neque rent suffurari te posse credas. Works, iii. 460. 

Conf. ' 'Twere good, methinks, to steal respects~\ i. e. preference or regard 

our marriage.' Taming of the Shrew, for persons, as the next clause 

act iii. sc. 2. shows. 

n inward"] i.e. intimate, confidential. P to side a man's self] Lat. alteri 

Lat. apud dominant potens. Fr. ton parti adhaerere. Conf. ' Mean men in 

intinte. Conf. ' Applieng myself to be their rising must adhere. . . . Kings 

inward w th my La. Dorsett, per Champ- had need beware how they side them- 

ners ad utilit. testam.' Letters and selves, and make themselves as of a fac- 

Life, iv. 77. ' Secrecy, on the other tion or party.' Essay 51. 


sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, 
respect them ; and rather call them when they look not 
for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look 
to be called. Be not too sensible or too remembering 
of thy place in conversation and private answers to suitors ; 
but let it rather be said, When he sits in place, he is another 


P. 72, 1. 5. to seek power and to lose liberty] Conf. ' Caesari quoque 
ipsi, cui omnia licent, propter hoc ipsum multa non licent. Omnium 
domos illius vigilia defendit, omnium otium illius labor, omnium 
delicias illius industria, omnium vacationem illius occupatio. Ex quo 
se Caesar orbi terrarum dedicavit, sibi eripuit ; et siderum modo, 
quae irrequieta semper cursus suos explicant, nunquam illi licet nee 
subsistere nee quicquam suum facere.' Seneca, Consol. ad Polybium, 
cap. 26 (p. 95 B). 

P. 73, 1. 5. Cum non sis &c.] Cicero, Epistolarum ad Diversos lib. vii. 
3 : ' Mortem mihi cur consciscerem, causa nulla visa est : cur 
optarem, multae. Vetus est enim, ubi non sis qui fueris, non esse cur 
velis vivere? This was written after the battle of Pharsalia and the 
ruin of the cause with which Cicero had at that time identified 

1. 22. Illi mors gravis &c.] Seneca, Thyestes, act II. 402. 

1. 28. good dreams} Conf. ' I fear you will think all our discourses 
to be but the better sort of dreams ; for good wishes, without power 
to effect, are not much more.' Works, vii. 18. 

P. 74, 1. 6. Etconversus &c.] Genesis i. 31, loosely quoted from the 
Vulgate. Mr. Spedding compares the passage quoted in the foot 
notes from the Distributio Operis with St. Augustine's prayer at the 
close of the Confessions : ' Domine Deus pacem da nobis (omnia 
enim praestitisti nobis), pacem quietis, pacem Sabbati, Sabbati sine 
vespera. Omnis quippe iste ordo pulcherrimus rerum valde bona- 
rum modis suis peractis transiturus est, et mane quippe in eis factum 
est et vespera. Dies autem septimus sine vespera est, nee habet 
occasum, quia sanctificasti eum ad permansionem sempiternam, ut id 
quod tu post opera tua bona valde, quamvis ea quietus feceris, re- 
quievisti septimo die, hoc praeloquatur nobis vox libri tui, quod et 
nos post opera nostra, ideo bona valde quia tu nobis ea donasti, 
sabbato vitae aeternae requiescamus in te.' Conf. xiii. 35-6. 

P. 75, 1. 5. of the ancient time &c.] Bacon's meaning is that although 
the first institution may be the best absolutely, yet the degenerated new 


form may be the fittest relatively to the time into which it has sur 
vived, and to the surroundings which have grown up about it. 

Conf. ' It is true that what is settled by custom, though it be not 
good, yet at least it is fit : and those things which have long gone 
together are, as it were, confederate within themselves ; whereas 
new things piece not so well.' Essay 24. 

1. 10. stir not questions of jurisdiction.'] Conf. what Bacon says in 
his Essay on Judicature (56), of 'those that engage courts in quarrels 
of jurisdiction and are not truly amid curiae, but parasiti curiae, in 
puffing a court up beyond her bounds for their own scraps and 
advantage,' and note on passage. 

1. 12. Preserve likewise &c.] Plutarch in his Precepts of Policy 
insists on this. Conf. ' Like as good Patrons or Masters of a ship lay 
their own hands to some businesse, but others they performe sitting 
themselves afar off by the meanes of their tools and instruments 
and by the hands of other servants ; . . . even so ought a wise 
Governour of the Commonwealth to yield now and then unto others 
the honour of command .... and not to move all matters belonging to 
the state by his own personal speeches nor by his decrees, sentences, 
acts, and as it were with his own hands execute everything, but to 
have about him faithful and trusty persons to be his ministers,' 
&c., &c. 

This he illustrates by the case of Metiochus, a follower and 
favourite of Pericles, 'who making use of his authority out of measure 
and compasse, by the countenance thereof, would employ himself in 
all public charges and commissions whatsoever, until at the last he 
became contemptible and despised ; ' and by the case of Timesias the 
Clazomenean, who, he says, 'was otherwise a good man and a suffi 
cient Politician, howbeit little wist he how he was envied in the city, 
because he would seem to do everything by himselfe, untill such time 
as there befell unto him such an accident as this. There chanced to 
be playing in the midst of a street, as he passed by, a company of 
boies, and their game was who could drive with a cudgell a certaine 
cockall bone out of a hole. Some boies there were who held that the 
bone lay still within, but he who had smitten it maintained the con 
trary, and said withall, I would I had as well dash'd out Timesias' 
braines out of his head as I am sure this bone was smitten out of the 
hole. Timesias overheard this word, and knowing thereby what 
envy and malice all the people bare unto him, returning home 
presently to his house, and told his wife the whole matter, command 
ing her to truss and pack up all both bag and baggage, and to follow 
after him ; who immediately went out of doores, and departed for 
ever out of the city Clazomene.' Holland's Trans., p. 300. 

P. 76, 1. 9. Salomon saitK\ Prov. xxviii. 21. The text is quoted and 
remarked on, as here, in the Advancement of Learning : ' Qui cognos- 



cit in judicio faciem, non bene facit ; iste et pro buccella panis deseret 
veritatem.' Here is noted that ' a judge were better be a briber than a 
respecter of persons ; for a corrupt judge oflfendeth not so lightly as 
a facile.' Works, iii. 450. And somewhat more fully in the De Aug. 
Scient. : ' Prudentissime notat Parabola in judice magis perniciosam 
esse facilitatem morum quani corruptelam munerum. Munera enim 
haudquaquam ab omnibus deferuntur; at vix ulla est causa, in qua 
non inveniatur aliquid quod flectit judicis animum si personas respi- 
ciat.' Works, i. 763. 

1. 12. A place showeth the man] A saying of disputed authorship. 
Harpocration, in his Lexicon, citing it as used by Demosthenes, says 
that Sophocles in his elegies ascribes it to Solon, but that Theo- 
phrastus, in his collection of proverbs, and Aristotle, ascribe it to 
Bias. Vide 'Ap^ij SvBpa SeiVj/uo-t, Ai7//<xr$e'j>;? npoot/jiiois 8r)p.rjyopiKols. 
2o<poK\f)s (lev ovv tv Tals e'Xeyeuus, SoXwpdy (prjaiv avrb elvai aTrocpdeypa. 
Qfofppacrros 8' ev TO> napoip-iuiv, KOL 'ApitrToreXj;?, Bt'acroy. Harpocration, 
nepl T>V \eea>v, p. 50. Hporepov fiev ovv eyatye, p,a TOVS Geovs, OVK ydeiv 
irpos ri nor elrj TOUT' elprjfjLfvov, apx*) avdpa 8eiKvv(n. vvv 8e Kav a\\ov p.oi doK<a 

8i8d(-ai. Demosthenes, Prooemia Demegorica, p. 1455. (Reiske's ed. 

The Sophocles referred to by Harpocration is the second Sopho 
cles, the grandson of the great dramatist. His elegies are not extant. 
Theophrastus' collection of proverbs is also not extant. 

Aristotle's only known reference to it. occurs in Eth. Nicom. bk. v. 
cap. 3 (or l), sec. 16 : Kai Sia TOUTO eu 8oK.el \fiv TO TOV Biavros, on dp^f] 
avSpa 8tiei' npbs frepov yap Kai ev KOivowiq fjdr} 6 appear. But that Aris- 

totle also made a collection of proverbs appears from a passage in 
Athenaeus, lib. ii (p. 60, d, e) : Kij^io-oScopos' 6 'lo-oKparotis fj.adrjrrjs, tv 
rols Kara 'AptaroTeAovr, eViTi/ia TW (pi\o(r6(l>a> oil rroiTjaravTi Xoyou aiov TW 
Trapot/xias ddpolo-ai. This gives more weight to the passage in the 
Ethics than would belong to it as an obiter dictum. 

Vide also Diogenes Laertius, lib. i. sec. 77, where, writing of 
Pittacus, he says, Enr* re ^PXn "$pa ^fiKvvei. 

It occurs among the ' Proverbia Diogeniani,' with no authorship 
assigned : 'Ap^i) av8pa SfiKvvcriv : 'ETTI ra>v ev rfj ap^ff ' ot ' to~i ipatvofjif- 
vav. Cent. iii. 94 in Gaisford's Paroemiographi Graeci. 

Plutarch refers to it in his comparison of Cicero with Demosthenes : 
' But nothing sheweth a man's nature and condition more (as it is 
reported and so it is true) than when one is in authority : for that 
bewrayeth his humour and the affections of his mind, and layeth open 
also all his secret vices in him.' Lives, North's Trans., p. 883. And 
again, in his Precepts of Policy : ' Epaminondas when his adver 
saries and ill-willers upon envy had caused him to be chosen a baylife 
and receiver of the citie revenues, thereby to do him a spight and 
shrewd turne ; he did not despise and thinke basely of the said office : 


but saying, that not only Magistracy sheweth what manner of man 
one is, but also a man sheweth what the Magistracy is, he brought 
that office into great dignity and reputation, which before was in no 
credit and account at all.' Holland's Trans., p. 299. Erasmus includes 
it in the Adagia, sub voce Magistratus virum indicat. He quotes 
in his remarks upon it a' passage from the Antigone, 11. 175-177, to 
the same general effect : 

'A[j.f))(avoj> 8e travrbs dvbpbs fKpaOflv 
^V\TJV re Kal <ppavr)fj.a KOI yva>p.T]v, irp\v &v 
dpx<ils re Kal VOUOKTIV fvrpiftrjs (pavfj. 
Suidas quotes the proverb and explains it as ri rS>v irpb p.ev T^S 

dp\rjs firieiKoiv, tv avrfj 8e rfj dp-^rj fiiaiav yevop.evu>v. The rest of the 

remarks are an imperfect copy of Harpocration. Guicciardini, from 
whom Bacon quotes elsewhere, concludes his Istoria d'ltalia with ' e 
verissimo e degno di somma laude quel proverbio, che il Magistrate 
fa manifesto il valore di chi 1'esercita.' 

1. 14. Omnium consensu &c.] Tacitus, Hist. i. 49. 

1. 16. Solus imperantium &c.] * Ambigua de Vespasiano fama ; 
solusque omnium ante se principum in melius mutatus est.' Tacitus, 
Hist. i. 50. 

Conf. 'Tacitus observeth how rarely raising of the fortune mendeth 
the disposition : Solus Vespasianus mutatus in melius.' Works, iii. 436. 

1. 19. whom honour amends] This is given grammatically in the 
Latin, si quis honoribus emendatur. 

1. 20. as in nature c.] So in the Advancement of Learning : ' It 
is no marvel though the soul so placed enjoy no rest, if that principle 
be true that Motus rerum est rapidus extra locum, placidus in loco' On 
the truth and value of this principle Bacon himself pronounces, 
Schola communis satis habet, si motum naturalem a violento distinguat : 
el gravia deorsum, levia sursum ferri ex motu naturali pronuntiet. 
Verum parum projlciunt ad philosophiam hujusmodi speculationes. Ista 
enim natura, ars, violentia, compendia verborum sunt et nugae. Works, 
iii. 118. 

1. 23. All rising &c.] Conf. 'There is rarely any rising but by a 
commixture of good and evil arts.' Essay 14. 

P. 77, 1. 4. Be not too sensible &c.] The Latin omits ' to suitors ' and 
thus makes unexceptionable what appears in the English as a some 
what questionable rule. Ne sis loci tui nimis memor aut crebram de eo 
mentionem facias in quotidianis sermonibus aut conversatione privata. 

Conf. King James' advice to his son in the Basilicon Doron, bk. ii : 
' Remember also to put a difference between your forme of language 
in reasoning, and your pronouncing of sentences or declaration of 
your will in judgment or any other waies in the points of your office. 
.... The like forme would also be observed by all your inferiour 
Judges and Magistrates.' 



IT is a trivial grammar-school text, but yet worthy a wise 
man's consideration. Question was asked of Demosthenes, 
what was the chief part of an orator ? he answered, Action : 
what next? Action: what next again? Action. He said 
it that knew it best, and had by nature himself no ad 
vantage in that he commended. A strange thing, that 
that part of an orator which is but superficial, and rather 
the virtue of a player, should be placed so high above 
those other noble parts of invention, elocution, and the 
rest ; nay almost alone, as if it were all in all. But the 10 
reason is plain. There is in human nature generally more 
of the fool than of the wise ; and therefore those faculties 
by which the foolish part of men's minds is taken are most 
potent. Wonderful like is the case of boldness in civil 
business; what first? boldness; what second and third? 
boldness: and yet boldness is a child of ignorance and 
baseness, far inferior to other parts : but, nevertheless, it 
doth fascinate, and bind hand and foot those that are 
either shallow in judgment or weak in courage, which are 
the greatest part ; yea, and prevaileth with wise men at ao 
weak times. Therefore we see it hath done wonders in 
popular states, but with senates and princes less ; and 
more ever upon the first entrance of bold persons into 
action than soon after; for boldness is an ill keeper of 
promise. Surely as there are mountebanks for the natural 
body, so are there mountebanks for the politic body; men 
that undertake great cures, and perhaps have been lucky 
in two or three experiments, but want the grounds of 
science, and therefore cannot hold out. Nay, you shall 
see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet's miracle. 30 
Mahomet made the people believe that he would call 
a hill to him, and from the top of -it offer up his prayers 



for the observers of his law. The people assembled : 
Mahomet called the hill to come to him again and again ; 
and when the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, 
but said, If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will 
go to the hill. So these men, when they have promised 
great matters and failed most shamefully, yet (if they have 
the perfection of boldness) they will but slight it over, and 
make a turn a , and no more ado. Certainly, to men of great 
judgment, bold persons are a sport to behold ; nay, and to 

10 the vulgar also boldness hath somewhat of the ridiculous ; 
for if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not 
but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity. 
Especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow is out 
of countenance, for that puts his face into a most shrunken 
and wooden posture, as needs it must ; for in bashfulness 
the spirits do a little go and come; but with bold men, 
upon like occasion, they stand at a stay b ; like a stale at 
chess, where it is no mate, but yet the game cannot stir. 
But this last were fitter for a satire than for a serious 

20 observation. This is well to be weighed, that boldness is 
ever blind ; for it seeth not dangers and inconveniences : 
therefore it is ill in counsel, good in execution ; so that the 
right use of bold persons is, that they never command in 
chief, but be seconds and under the direction of others; 
for in counsel it is good to see dangers, and in execution 
not to see them except they be very great. 


P. 81, 1. i. // is] For this use of the pronoun with its noun in a 
subsequent sentence, conf. ' It is but a light thing to be vouched in so 
serious a matter &c., &c.' in Essay 3. 

make a turn] i. e. take up a new mental attitude of the man who has to 

position. Lat. se vertent. make a move of some kind, but has 

b they stand at a stay] Lat. audaccs no move which he can make, and 

attonili haerent. The comparison which whose face expresses his embarrass- 

follows seems intended to illustrate the ment. 


1. 2. Question was asked &c.] Cicero relates this several times, 
and endorses and explains it at length. Plutarch also relates it in 
his Lives of the Ten Orators. Quintilian varies it by putting pro- 
nuntiatio instead of actio, but he extends pronuntiatio to include 
manner of delivery, just as Cicero extends actio to include voice. 
Conf. ' Actio, inquam, in dicendo una dominatur. Sine hac summus 
orator esse in numero nullo potest : mediocris, hac instructus, 
summos saepe superare. Huic primas dedisse Demosthenes dicitur, 
quum rogaretur, quid in dicendo esset primum ; huic secundas ; huic 
tertias.' De Oratore iii. 56, sec. 213. And, ' Sed quum haec magna in 
Antonio, turn actio singularis : quae si partienda sit in gestum atque 
vocem ; gestus erat non verba exprimens sed cum sententiis con- 
gruens : manus, humeri, latera, supplosio pedis, status, incessus, 
omnisque motus cum verbis sententiisque consentiens ; vox perma- 
nens, verum subrauca . natura. Sed hoc vitium huic uni in bonum 
convertebat . . . Ut verum videretur in hoc illud quod Demosthenem 
ferunt ei, qui quaesivisset quid primum esset in dicendo, actionem ; 
quid secundum, idem, et idem tertium respondisse. Nulla res magis 
penetrat in animos, eosque fingit, format, flectit : talesque oratores 
videri facit quales ipsi se videri volunt.' Brutus (De Claris Oratori- 
bus) xxxviii. 141. And ' Quo modo autem dicatur, id est in duobus, in 
agendo et in eloquendo. Est enim actio quasi corporis quaedam 

eloquentia, quum constet e voce atque motu ut jam non sine 

caussa Demosthenes tribuerit et primas, et secundas et tertias ac- 
tioni. Si enim eloquentia nulla sine hac, haec autem sine eloquentia, 
tanta est, certe plurimum in dicendo potest.' Orator, xvii. 55, 56. 
Plutarch, in his Lives of the Ten Orators, writes : ' One day he chanced 
to be out and his memory to fail him, so that he was hissed at by the 
people in a great assembly of the City : . . . Eunomus the Thrasian, 
being now an ancient man, met with him, who cheered up Demos 
thenes and comforted him all he could ; but most of all Andronicus 
the stage player ; who said unto him : That his orations were as good 
as possibly might be, only he was wanting somewhat in action (Gk. 
vnoKpivis) ; and thereupon rehearsed certain places out of his oration, 
which he had delivered in that frequent assembly : unto whom 
Demosthenes gave good ear and credit, whereupon he betook him 
self unto Andronicus : insomuch as afterwards when he was de 
manded the question which was the first point of eloquence, he 
answered, Action ; which the second, he made answer, Action ; and 
which was the third, he said, Action, still.' Morals, p. 764. Conf. 
also ' Pronuntiatio a plerisque actio dicitur, sed prius nomen a voce, 
sequens a gestu videtur accipere ; namque actionem Cicero alias 
quasi sermonem, alias eloquentiam quamdam corporis dicit : idem tamen 
duas ejus partes facit quae sunt eaedem pronuntiationis, vocem atque 
motum : quapropter utraque appellatione indifferenter uti licet. Habet 

G 2 


autem res ipsa miram quamdam in oration ibus vim ac potestatem : 
neque tarn refert qualia sint quae intra nosmet ipsos composuimus 
quam quo modo efferantur .... Equidem vel moderatam orationem, 
commendatam viribus actionis, affirmaverim plus habituram esse 
momenti, quam optimam eadem ilia destitutam, siquidem et Demos 
thenes quid esset in loto genere dicendi primum, interrogatus pronun- 
tiationi palmam dedit, eidemque secundum ac tertium locum, donee 
ab eo quaeri desineret : ut earn videri posset non praecipuam sed 
solam judicasse.' Quintilian, Instit. Orat. lib. xi. 3. 

1. 5. had by nature &c.] Conf. ' At the first, beginning to practise 
Oratory .... he had a very soft voice, an impediment in his tongue, 
and had also a short breath, the which made that men could not well 
understand what he meant, for his long periods in his oration were 
oftentimes interrupted, before he was at the end of his sentence.' 
Plutarch's Lives (North's trans.), p. 847. ' For his bodily defects of 
nature ... he did helpe them by these meanes. First touching the 
stammering of his toung, which was very fat, and made him that he 
could not pronounce all syllables distinctly : he did helpe it by 
putting of little pibble stones into his mouth, which he found upon 
the sands by the river's side, and so pronounced with open mouth 
the orations he had without booke. And for his small and soft voice, 
he made that louder by running up steepe and high hils, uttering even 
with full breath some orations or verses that he had without booke. 
And further it is reported of him, that he had a great looking-glasse 
in his house, and ever standing on his feet before it, he would learne 
and exercise himselfe to pronounce his orations.' p. 849. 

1. 10. But the reason is plain &c.] Aristotle remarks on the sub 
ject very much as Bacon does. Tpirov 8e TOVTCOV, (nrepi rffs Xeew?) o 
p.fv e^et p.fylcrTrjv, OVTT<O 8' eTTiKe^et'prjTai, ra wtpi TTJV VTroxpicriv .... 
ovv OTI Kai Trept TTJV prjropi.Kr]v e'ori TO TOIOVTOV eocrTrep Kai TTtpl TTJV notrj- 
... EOTI fie avrr/ p,tv ev rfj (pa>vfj, TT>S avrf) Set \prj<rdai rrpbs eKacrroj/ 
Trados .... Ta ovv ad\a cr^eSoi/ e/c T>V dy<ava>v OVTOI \a/j.@dvovcriv, KOI Ka6d- 
nfp eKfl peiov tivvavrai vvv rS>v Troirjrciv ol vrroKpirai, KOI Kara roiis TTO\ITIKOVS 
dyatvas did TTJV jj.o^0r]piav TWV TroXtreiwi' .... KOL 8oKel (popriKov ea/at, Ka\>s 
{i7TQ\afj.^av6fjifvov .... dXX' opus p.tya bvvarai, Kaddrnp f'iprjTai, 8id rf/v TOV 
d/cpoaroC no^drjpiav .... Kai vvv en ot TroXXoi T>V dTraiSevratv rovs TOIOVTOVS 
olovrai SiaXe'-yecr^at KaXXto-ra. ToCro 8' OVK ecrnv. Rhet. lib. iii. cap. I. 

1. 15. what first? boldness &c.] The reader will be reminded of 
Danton's well-known words, ' II nous faut de 1'audace, encore de 
1'audace, toujours de 1'audace.' . See close of Danton's speech to the 
Assembly in Sept. 1792. Louis Blanc, Histoire de la Revolution 
Fran^aise, vol. 7, p. 148. 

1. 17. it doth fascinate &c.] Conf. ' De Aug. Scient. Dici possit de 
jactantia (nisi plane deformis fuerit et ridicula), Audacter te vendita, 
semper aliquid haeret. Haerebit certe apud populum, licet pru-s 


dentiores subrideant. Itaque existimatio parta apud plurimos pau- 
corum fastidium abunde compensabit.' Works, i. 780. 

1. 21. wonders in popular states] So Aristagoras of Miletus failed 
to persuade Cleomenes to attack Persia and give aid to the Ionian 
revolt ; but when he came to Athens he carried the people with him 
by his boundless promises and assurances of easy success. 
yap oiKf fivai fvirfTear-repov SiajSaAAeiz/ r) eW, (I KXeo/xej/ea [lev TOV 
poviov povvov OVK oios re eytvero diaftaXXftv, rpels df fivpidoas ' 

fTToirjcrf ToOro. Herod, v. cap. 97. 

P. 82, 1. 16. the spirits do a little come and go] For Bacon's theory 
about the spirits as physical entities, vide note on Essay 9. 

1. 20. boldness is ever blind} Conf, ' There is also great use of am 
bitious men in being screens to princes in matters of danger and 
envy : for no man will take that part except he be like a seeled dove, 
that mounts and mounts because he cannot see about him.' Essay 36. 


I TAKE goodness in this sense, the affecting* of the 
weal of men, which is that the Grecians call philanthropia ; 
and the word humanity (as it is used) is a little too light 
to express it. Goodness I call the habit, and goodness 
of nature the inclination. This, of all virtues and dignities 
of the mind, is the greatest, being the character of the 
Deity : and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched 
thing, no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness answers 
to the theological virtue charity, and admits b no excess 
but error. The desire of power in excess caused the 10 
angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused 
man to fall ; but in charity there is no excess, neither can 

* the affecting] i. e. the having a love b admits no excess but error] The 

for. Conf. ' Use also such men as Latin avoids the verbal ambiguity 

affect the business wherein they are of the English. Neque excessum 

employed, for that quickeneth much.' quidem capt't, aberrationem autetn 

Essay 47. patitur. 


angel or man come in danger by it. The inclination to 
goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man ; inso 
much that if it issue not towards men it will take unto 
other living creatures ; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel 
people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give 
alms to dogs and birds; insomuch as c , Busbechius re- 
porteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had like to 
have been stoned for gagging in a waggishness a long- 
billed fowl. Errors, indeed, in this virtue of goodness 

10 or charity may be committed. The Italians have an 
ungracious proverb, Tanto buon che val niente: So good, 
that he is good for nothing : and one of the doctors of 
Italy, Nicholas Macciavel, had the confidence to put in 
writing, almost in plain terms, That the Christian faith 
had given up good men in prey to those that are tyrannical 
and unjust ; which he spake because, indeed, there was 
never law or sect or opinion did so much magnify good 
ness as the Christian religion doth. Therefore, to avoid 
the scandal and the danger both, it is good to take know- 

20 ledge of the errors of an habit so excellent. Seek the 
good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces 
or fancies ; for that is but facility or softness, which taketh 
an honest mind prisoner. Neither givethou Aesop's cock 
a gem, who would be better pleased and happier if he had 
had a barley-corn. The example of God teacheth the 
lesson truly ; He sendeth his rain, and maketh his sun 
to shine upon the just and unjust ; but he doth not rain 
wealth, nor shine honour and virtues upon men equally. 
Common benefits are to be communicate with all, but 

3 o peculiar benefits with choice. And beware d how in 
making the portraiture thou breakest the pattern ; for 
divinity maketh the love of ourselves the pattern ; the 

c as] = that, love to a neighbour should be the copy 

d And beware how &c.] i. e. Do not or portraiture. The Latin gives, very 

50 show love to a neighbour as to put clearly, Cave auteni ne, dum effigiem 

out of office that self-love, of which sculpas, archetypum destruas. 


love of our neighbours but the portraiture. Sell all 
thou hast, and give it to the poor, and follow me : but sell 
not all thou hast except thou come and follow me ; that is, 
except thou have a vocation wherein thou mayest do 
as much good with little means as with great, for other 
wise, in feeding the streams, thou driest the fountain. 
Neither is there only a habit of goodness directed by right 
reason ; but there is in some men, even in nature, a 
disposition towards it ; as, on the other side, there is 
a natural malignity : for there be that in their nature do 10 
not affect the good of others. The lighter sort of malignity 
turneth but to a crossness, or frowardness, or aptness to 
oppose, or difficileness, or the like; but the deeper sort 
to envy and mere mischief. Such men in other men's 
calamities, are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the 
loading part e : not so good as the dogs that licked Lazarus' 
sores, but like flies that are still buzzing upon anything 
that is raw; misanthropi, that make it their practice to 
bring men to the bough f , and yet have never a tree for 
the purpose in their gardens, as Timon had. Such 20 
dispositions are the very errors of human nature, and 
yet they are the fittest timber to make great politics g of ; 
like to knee h timber, that is good for ships that are 
ordained to be tossed, but not for building houses that 

e on the loading part] i. e. they ever 
take the side which loads or presses 
and so adds to the weight of a calamity . 
Lat. easque (sc. calamitatesj semper ag- 
gravant. So Bacon defends a pro 
posed amendment of the law on the 
ground that ' it is on the favourable part, 
for it easeth, it presseth not.' Letters 
and Life, vi. 66. For loading, conf. 

' 'Tis a cruelty 
To load a falling man.' 
King Henry VIII, act v. sc. a. 

f to the bough] Lat. ad suspendii 
ramum. So Blackstone states among 
the distinguishing points of the tenure 

in gavelkind that ' the estate does not 
escheat in case of an attainder and 
execution for felony : their m&xim 
being " the father to the bough, the 
son to the plough.'" Commentaries, 
bk. ii. ch. 6. 

s great politics] i. e. great politicians. 
So passim. 

h knee timber] ' A knee is a piece of 
timber growing crooked, and so cut 
that the trunk and branch make an 
angle.' Quoted in Johnson's Dictionary 
from Moxon's Mechanical Exercises. 
Lat. similia lignis incurvis. Fr. le bois 


shall stand firm. The parts and signs of goodness are 
many. If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, 
it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart 
is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that 
joins to them. If he be compassionate towards the afflic 
tions of others, it shows that his heart is like the noble 
tree that is wounded itself when it gives the balm. If 
he easily pardons and remits offences, it shows that his 
mind is planted above injuries *, so that he cannot be shot. 
10 If he be thankful for small benefits, it shows that he 
weighs men's minds and not their trash k . But above all, 
if he have St. Paul's perfection, that he would wish to be 
an anathema from Christ for the salvation of his brethren, 
it shows much of a divine nature, and a kind of conformity 
with Christ himself. 


P. 85, 1. 4. habit inclination} This is a special instance of the 
wider Aristotelian distinction between (pvo-iKri apery and f/diKri apery or 
apfTr) Kvplas. Conf. IIa<ri yap 8oxel (Kacrra T>V ydSiv inrdp^fiv (pixrei TTWJ* al 
yap diKatoi KOI <ra>(ppoviKol Kal avftpeloi KOI ra\\a e^op.ev fv0vs CK yeverfjs' .... 
'H 8" eis ofjLoia ovcra TOT' ecrrai Kvpias aperrj K.r.A. Eth. Nicom. vi. 13. 

1. 10. The desire of power &c.] Conf. note on Essay 3, pp. 30 & 31. 

P. 86, 1. 4. the Turks &c.] Busbequius (a scholar and diplomatist of 
the sixteenth century) gives various instances of the kindness of the 
Turks to animals. They make pets of their horses : they do not 
exactly give alms to dogs, as Bacon says, but they collect heaps of 
garbage for them to eat : they resent all cruelty to animals of all sorts. 
He tells a story of a cat settling itself to sleep on the sleeve of 
Mahomet's dress. When the time came for public prayers, Mahomet 
cut off his sleeve so as not to disturb the cat. When Busbec taxed 
them with being kinder to animals than to men, the answer was, 
'concessam homini a Deo rationem, egregium ad omnia instrumentum, 

1 above injuries &c.] Lat. supra in- And drop my blood for drachmas 
junarum jactum et tela. than to wring 

k trash\ used, contemptuously, for From the hard hands of peasants 
goods or money. Lat. sarcinas. their vile trash 

Conf. By any indirection.' 

' I had rather coin my heart Julius Caesar, act iv. sc. 3. 


qua tamen ille abutatur, sic ut nihil ei cadat incommodi quod non 
sua culpa contraxerit; idcirco minore misericordia dignum. At 
brutis nihil a Deo tributum praeter quosdam motus et appetitus 
naturales, quos non sequi non possint : ideoque humana ope et 
commiseratione sublevandos.' Bacon's story from Busbequius is 
given incorrectly in several points. The offender was not a Christian 
boy but aurifex Venetus : that he had like to have been stoned is 
Bacon's gloss : finally the bird was not a long-billed fowl, but a short- 
billed fowl with a prodigiously wide gape. The goldsmith, Busbe 
quius says, had caught a bird ' coccygis magnitudine atque ejusdem 
fere coloris, non magno quidem rostro sed faucibus ita vastis et 

patentibus ut cum diducerentur prodigiose hiarent Avem januae 

suae supero limini passis alis affigit, faucibus ita bacillo deductis ut 

immensum hiarent Turcae consistebant suspiciebantque, sed 

ubi moveri avem et vivere animadverterent, in miserationem versi, 
clamant indignum facinus innocentem avem sic discruciari, aurificem 
domo evocant, arreptumque obtorto collo trahunt ad judicem rerum 
capitalium ; jamque in eo res erat ut male verberibus acciperetur, 

cum a Bailo Veneto quidam intervenit qui hominem repeteret, 

quern a benevolo et favente judice, tamen prementibus reliquis 
Turcis, vix impetrat.' Busbequius had the story from the man him 
self, and saw the bird. He thought it a caprimulgus, or goat-sucker. 
Conf. Legationis Turcicae Epistolae, Ep. iii. 

The Latin version of the Essays avoids most of the inaccuracies of 
the English : Adeo ut (referente Busbequio) aurifex quidam Venetus, 
Byzantii agens, vix furorem populi ejfugerit, quod avis cujusdam, rostri 
oblongi, fauces inserto baculo diduxisset. 

1. 9. Errors, indeed] So Aristotle, in the passage referred to 
above, Says of the tpvcriKai aperai : "QcrTrep crco/zaTt to-^vpw aixv otyecas KIVOV- 
fi.eva> avfjipaivfi cr(j)d\\fa'dai la-^ypSas 8ia TO p.f) e^ety o^riv, OVTCO KOI evravOa. 
Eth. Nicom. vi. 13. 

1. 12. one of the doctors of Italy] The Latin omits these words. 
The Italian gives in their place, quel empio Niccolo Machievello, The 
reference is to the Discourses on Livy. ' La religione nostra ha 
glorificato piu gli uomini umili e contemplativi, che gli attivi. Ha 
dipoi posto il sommo bene nella umilta, nell' abiezione, e nel dispre- 

gio delle cose umane ; E se la Religione nostra richiede che 

abbia in te fortezza, vuole che tu sia atto a patire piu che a fare una 
cosa forte. Questo modo di vivere adunque pare ch' abbia renduto il 
mondo debole, e datolo in preda agli uomini scellerati, i quali sicura- 
mente lo possono maneggiare, veggendo come Puniversalita degli 
uomini per andare in Paradise pensa piu a sopportar le sue battiture, 
che a vendicarle.' Lib. ii. cap. 2. 

The passage, it will be seen, does not bear out Bacon's remarks 
upon it. Machiavelli speaks of Christianity, not as magnifying good- 


ness, but as making men indifferent to worldly affairs by proposing 
other objects as more deserving regard. Christianity, he says 
further, is not to be held accountable for this' nasce senza dubbio 
dalla vilta degli uomini, che hanno interpretato la nostra Religione 
secondo 1'ozio e non secondo la virtu.' 

1. 26. He sendeth his rain] Matthew v. 5. 

P. 87, 1. i. Sell all thou hast] Mark x. 21. 

1. 2. sell not all &c.] This rule seems to have been suggested by a 
passage of Thomas Aquinas : ' Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in 
illis verbis Domini aliquid ponitur quasi via ad perfectionem ; hoc 
scilicet quod dicitur, Vade, vende omnia quae habes et da pauperibus; 
aliquid autem subditur in quo perfectio consistit, scilicet quod dicit, et 

sequere me Ex ipso modo loquendi apparet qao 1 consilia sunt 

quaedam instrumenta perveniendi ad perfectionem, dum dicitur, si 
vis perfectus esse, vade vende &c. quasi dicat, hoc faciendo ad hunc 
finem pervenies.' Aquinas, in the same Article, lays down that the 
counsels of highest perfection are not obligatory on all men. Vide 
Summ. Theolog. Secunda Secundae, Quaest. 184, Art. iii. 

1. 7. Neither is there only &c.] This is distinctly Aristotelian. 
Conf. 'ETT! TOV rjdiKov 8vo e'ori (eifij;), TO fj.ev aperij <pv<TiKr], TO 8' 17 Kvpia, KCU 
TOVT&V TJ Kvpia ov yivtrai avev <ppovi'](rea>s .... 'Op6bs 8e Xoyos TTC/JI T&v 
Toiovrav fj <pp6vT]<ris t'orii/. Eth. Nicom. vi. 13. 

1. 19. yet have never a tree] Conf. ' It is reported of him also, that 
this Timon on a time (the people being assembled in the market 
place about despatch of some affaires) got up into the pulpit for 
Orations, where the Oratours commonly use to speake unto the 
people : and silence being made, every man listening to heare what 
he would say, because it was a wonder to see him in that place ; at 
length he began to speake in this manner : My Lords of Athens, I 
have a little yard at my house where there groweth a figge tree, on 
the which many citizens have hanged themselves ; and because I 
mean to make some building on the place, I thought good to let you 
all understand it, that before the figge tree be cut downe, if any of 
you be desperate, you may there in time go hang yourselves.' North's 
Plutarch, p. 943. 

1. 22. great politics] That political life and rascality were not easily 
to be separated, was with Bacon an article of faith as well as of 
practice. Conf., e. g., ' There is rarely any rising but by a commixture 
of good and evil arts.' Essay 14. 

P. 88, 1. 6. like the noble tree] Conf. ' They used in old time to gather 
the Incense but once a yeare ; but now, since every man calleth for 
it, they feeling the sweetnesse of the gaine, make a double vintage (as 
it were) of it in one yeare. The first, and indeed the kindly season, 
falleth about the hottest daies of the Summer, at what time as the 
Dog daies begin ; for then they cut the Tree where they see the 


barke to be fullest of liquor, and whereas they perceive it to be thin 
nest and strut out most. They make a gash or slit onely to give more 
libertie : but nothing do they pare or cut cleane away. The wound or 
incision is no sooner made, but out there gusheth a fat fome or froth ; 
this soon congealeth and groweth to be hard. That Incense which 
was let out in Summer, they leave there under the Tree untill the 
Autumne, and then they come and gather it. And this is most pure, 
cleane, and white. A second Vintage or gathering there is in the 
Spring : against which time they cut the bark before in" the Winter, 
and suffer it to run out untill the Spring. This cometh forth red, and 
is nothing comparable to the former.' Pliny, Nat. Hist., bk. xii. cap. 
14 (Holland's Trans.). T 

1. 12. to be an anathema} Vide Romans ix. 3, ' For I could wish 
that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen 
according to the flesh.' The original is avadf^a flvai dirb rov Xpiorov. 
The Vulgate gives ' Optabam enim ego ipse anathema esse a Christo 
pro meis fratribus,' &c. 

Conf. Advancement of Learning, ' We read that the elected saints 
of God have wished themselves anathematized and razed out of the 
book of life, in an ecstacy of charity and infinite feeling of com 
munion.' Works, iii. p. 421. 


WE will speak of nobility first as a portion of an 
estate a ; then as a condition of particular persons. A 
monarchy, where there is no nobility at all, is ever a 
pure and absolute tyranny, as that of the Turks ; for 
nobility attempers sovereignty, and draws the eyes of the 
people somewhat aside from the line royal. But for 
democracies, they need it not ; and they are commonly 
more quiet and less subject to sedition than where there 

a estate} here, as passim, state. Lat. reipublkae. 


are stirps b of nobles ; for men's eyes c are upon the 
business, and not upon the persons; or if upon the 
persons, it is for the business sake, as fittest, and not 
for flags d and pedigree. We see the Switzers last well, 
notwithstanding their diversity of religion and of cantons ; 
for utility is their bond, and not respects 6 . The united 
provinces of the Low Countries in their government 
excel ; for where there is an equality the consultations 
are more f indifferent, and the payments and tributes more 

10 cheerful. A great and potent nobility addeth majesty to 
a monarch, but diminished! power; and putteth life and 
spirit into the people, but presseth 8 their fortune. It is 
well when nobles are not too great for sovereignty nor for 
justice; and yet maintained in that height, as the insolency 
of inferiors may be broken upon them before it come on 
too fast h upon the majesty of kings. A numerous nobility 
causeth poverty and inconvenience in a state, for it is 
a surcharge of expence ; and besides, it being of necessity 
that many of the nobility fall in time to be weak in fortune, 

20 it maketh a kind of disproportion between honour and 

As for nobility in particular persons ; it is a reverend 
thing to see an ancient castle or building not in decay, 
or to see a fair timber-tree sound and perfect ; how much 
more to behold an ancient noble family, which hath stood 

b stirps] i. e. stock ; a Latinism. e respects'] i. e. regard for rank. Lat. 

Properly, the roots and lower part of utilitas enim apud eos valet non dig- 

the trunk of a tree. Bacon uses the nitas. 

word several times elsewhere ; e. g. f more indifferent] i. e. with less re- 

' He was a Jew and circumcised ; for spect of persons. Lat. consilia ineun- 

they have some few stirps of Jews tur aequabilius. 

yet remaining among them.' Works, e presseth] i. e. depresseth. Lat. de- 

iii. 151. primit. 

c for men's eyes &c.] This refers, not h too fast] i. e. too close. So, fast by 

to the clause immediately preceding is commonly used as = close by. The 

it, but to the clause before that. It in- Latin does not translate literally enough 

troduces a reason why democracies to be of help. The Italian gives 

do not need a nobility. prima che venga troppo oltre a toccare 

d flags'] Lat. insignia. la Maesta de i Re'.' 



against the waves and weathers of time : for new nobility 
is but the act of power, but ancient nobility is the act of 
time. Those that are first raised to nobility are commonly 
more virtuous i but less innocent than their descendants ; 
for there is rarely any rising but by a commixture of good 
and evil arts ; but it is reason k the memory of their virtues 
remain to their posterity, and their faults die with them 
selves. Nobility of birth commonly abateth industry; 
and he that is not industrious, envieth him that is; besides, 
noble persons cannot go much higher; and he that i 
standeth at a stay 1 when others rise can hardly avoid 
motions of envy. On the other side, nobility extinguisheth 
the passive envy m from others towards them, because 
they are in possession n of honour. Certainly, kings that 
have able men of their nobility shall find ease in employing 
them, and a better slide into their business ; for people 
naturally bend to them as born in some sort to com 

1 more virtuous] i. e. more possessed 
of great qualities of some kind. For 
this sense of virtue as distinct from 
moral excellence, conf. Essay 43, 
where Edward IV, Alcibiades and Is- 
mael Sophy are instanced as persons in 
whom beauty and virtue were combined. 

k but it is reason &c.] i.e. it is reason 
able that it should remain, &c. Lat. 
aequum vero est ut virtutum suarum 
memoria usque ad posteros permaneat. 

1 standeth at a stay] Lat. in eodem 
loco haeret. Conf. Bacon's letter to 
Coke : ' I am one that knows both 
mine own wants and other men's ; and 
it may be perchance, that mine mend 
and others stand at a stay.' Letters 
and Life, iii. p. 4. 

m passive envy] Introduced in con 
trast to the ' motions of envy,' just 
above. It adds nothing to the sense, 
which is sufficiently marked by the 

words which immediately follow. Envy 
is, of course, active or passive, accord 
ing as we look at the man who feels 
it, or at the man towards whom it is 

11 in possession'] The Latin makes 
the sense clear quod nobiles in ho- 
norum possessions nati videntur. 

slide into] The edition of 1612 
gives ' a better slide in their business. ' 
The Latin follows thus negotia sua 
mollius fluere sentient. The later text, 
if it has a meaning distinct from that 
of the earlier text, seems to mean that 
Kings that have able nobles will get 
more easily into the heart of their 
business. For slide, in the sense of 
easy movement, conf. 'Certainly there 
be, whose fortunes are like Homer's 
verses, that have a slide and easiness 
more than the verses of other poets.' 
Essay 40. 



P. 92, 1. 6. The united provinces of the Low Countries &c.] Conf. ' For 
the manner of their Government : They have upon occasion an as 
sembly of the generall States, like our Parliament There is besides 

a Counsell of State. . . . And besides both these, every Province and 
great Towne have particular counsells of their own. To all which 
assemblies, as well of the generall States as the rest, the Gentrie is 

called for order sake, but the State indeed is democraticall 

Neither are the Gentrie so much engaged in the cause, the people 
having more advantage in a free State, they in a monarchy. Their 
care in government is very exact and particular, by reason that 
every one hath an immediate interest in the State : such is the 
equality of justice that it renders every man satisfied,' &c. Overbury, 
Obs. on the Seventeen Provinces, &c., pp. 3, 4 (ed. 1626). 

1. 9. and the payments &c.] Conf. ' Taxes, levied by consent of 
the estate, do abate men's courage less ; as it hath been seen notably 
in the excises of the Low Countries.' Essay 29, and note on 

1. ii. diminisheth power] So Bacon notes in his Life of Henry 
VII : ' He kept a strait hand on his nobility, and chose rather to 
advance clergymen and lawyers, which were more obsequious to 
him, but had less interest in the people ; which made for his 
absoluteness but not for his safety.' Works, vi. 242. 



SHEPHERDS of people had need know the kalendars a of 
tempests in state, which are commonly greatest when 
things grow to equality ; as natural tempests are greatest 
about the aequinoctia. And as there are certain hollow 
blasts of wind and secret swellings of seas before a tempest, 
so are there in states : 

Ille etiam caecos instare tumultus 
Saepe monet, fraudesque et operta tumescere bella, 

kalendars] Lat. prognostica. 


Libels and licentious discourses against the state, when 
they are frequent and open ; and in like sort false news, 
often running up and down, to the disadvantage of the 
state, and hastily embraced, are amongst the signs of 
troubles. Virgil, giving the pedigree of Fame, saith she 
was sister to the giants : 

Illam Terra parens, ira irritata Deorum, 
Extremam (ut perhibent) Coeo Enceladoque sororem 

As if fames were the relics of seditions past ; but they 10 
are no less indeed the preludes of seditions to come. 
Howsoever he noteth it right, that seditious tumults and 
seditious fames differ no more but as brother and sister, 
masculine and feminine ; especially if it come to that, that 
the best actions of a state, and the most plausible b , and 
which ought to give greatest contentment, are taken in ill 
sense and traduced : for that shows the envy great, as 
Tacitus saith, Conflata magna invidia, seu bene seu male 
gesta premunt. Neither doth it follow that because these 
fames are a sign of troubles, that the suppressing of them 20 
with too much severity should be a remedy of troubles ; 
for the despising of them many times checks them best, 
and the going about to stop them doth but make a wonder 
long-lived. Also that kind of obedience which Tacitus 
speaketh of is to be held suspected : Erant in officio, sed 
tamen qui mallent imperantium mandata interpretari quam 
exsequi ; disputing, excusing, cavilling upon mandates and 
directions, is a kind of shaking off the yoke and assay of 
disobedience ; especially if in those disputings they which 
are for the direction speak fearfully and tenderly ; and 30 
those that are against it audaciously. 

Also, as Machiavel noteth well ; when princes, that 

b most plausible] here used in the c tenderly] i. e. weakly. Lat. (?) 
proper original sense = most deserving molliuscule. Conf. ' Pity which is the 
applause. Lat. laudatissimae. tenderest of affections.' Essays. 


ought to be common parents, make themselves as a party 
and lean to a side, it is as a boat that is overthrown by 
uneven weight on the one side ; as was well seen in the 
time of Henry the Third of France; for first, himself 
entered league for the extirpation of the Protestants, and 
presently after the same league was turned upon himself. 
For when the authority of princes is made but an accessary 
to a cause, and that there be d other bands that tie faster 
than the band of sovereignty, kings begin to be put almost 

10 out of possession. 

Also, when discords and quarrels and factions are 
carried openly and audaciously, it is a sign the reverence 
of government is lost. For the motions of the greatest 
persons in a government ought to be as the motions of 
the planets under primum mobile, (according to the old 
opinion), which is, that every of them is carried swiftly by 
the highest motion, and softly in their own motion ; and 
therefore, when great ones in their own particular motion 
move violently, and as Tacitus expresseth it well, liberius 

so quant ut imperantium memimssent, it is a sign the orbs are 
out e of frame : for reverence is that wherewith princes are 
girt from God, who threatened! the dissolving thereof; 
Solvam cingula regum. 

So when any of the four pillars of government are 

d and that there be &c.] For this ir- orbes perturbart manifestum est. Conf. 

regularity of construction not unfre- 'States as great engines, move slowly, 

quent in Bacon's time conf. 'Therefore and are not so soon put out of frame.' 

if a state run most to noblemen and Works, iii. 445. And, ' For suerly 

gentlemen, and that the husbandmen suerly, but that iithinges do comfort me, 

and ploughmen be but as their work- I wold despaire of the redresse in these 

folks or labourers,' &c. Works, vi. matters. One is that the kinges 

95. And, ' But when these virtues in maiestie whan he commeth to age, 

the fathers and leaders of the church will see a redresse of these thinges so 

have lost their light, and that they wax out of frame.' Latymer, ist Sermon, 

worldly, lovers of themselves, and p. 42 (Arber's reprints). And, ' No 

pleasers of men, then men begin to doubt you have a great stroke in the 

grope for the church as in the dark.' frame of this government, as the other 

Letters and Life, i. 80. (i.e.the planets) have in the great frame 

out of frame] i. e. disordered. Lat. of the world.' Letters and Life, vi. 211, 


mainly f shaken or weakened (which are religion, justice, 
counsel, and treasure), men had need to pray for fair 
weather. But let us pass from this part 8 of predictions 
(concerning which, nevertheless, more light may be taken 
from that which folio weth), and let us speak first of the 
materials of seditions ; then of the motives of them ; and 
thirdly of the remedies. 

Concerning the materials of seditions, it is a thing well 
to be considered ; for the surest way to prevent seditions 
(if the times do bear it) is to take away the matter ofio 
them ; for if there be fuel prepared, it is hard to tell 
whence the spark shall come that shall set it on fire. The 
matter of seditions is of two kinds ; much poverty and 
much discontentment. It is certain, so many overthrown 
estates, so many votes for troubles. Lucan noteth well 
the state of Rome before the civil war : 

Hinc usura vorax, rapidumque in tempore foenus, 
Hinc concussa fides, et multis utile belliim. 

This same multis utile helium is an assured and infallible 
sign of a state disposed to seditions and troubles ; and if ao 
this poverty and broken estate in the better sort be joined 
with a want and necessity in the mean people, the danger 
is imminent and great : for the rebellions of the belly are 
the worst. As for discontentments, they are in the politic 
body like to humours in the natural, which are apt to 
gather a preternatural heat and to inflame ; and let no 
prince measure the danger of them by this, whether they 
be just or unjust ? for that were to imagine people to be 
too reasonable, who do often spurn at their own good ; 
nor yet by this, whether the griefs whereupon they rise 3 
be in fact great or small ; for they are the most dangerous 

f mainly shaken] i. e. very much. * this part of predictions] i. e. this 

So in Essay 34 : ' He cannot but in- part of the subject, that namely which 

crease mainly.' Lat. non potest quin has to do with predictions. Lat. 

supra modum ditescat. mittamits haec prognostica. 



discontentments where the fear is greater than the feeling: 
Dolendi modus, timendi non item. Besides, in great 
oppressions, the same things that provoke the patience do 
withal mate h the courage ; but in fears it is not so. Neither 
let any prince or state be secure * concerning discontent 
ments, because they have been often, or have been long, 
and yet no peril hath ensued : for as it is true that every 
vapour or fume doth not turn into a storm, so it is never 
theless true that storms, though they blow over divers 
10 times, yet may fall at last ; and, as the Spanish proverb 
noteth well, The cord breaketh at the last by the weakest 

The causes and motives of seditions are, innovation in 
religion ; taxes ; alteration of laws and customs ; breaking 
of privileges ; general oppression ; advancement of un 
worthy persons ; strangers ; dearths ; disbanded soldiers ; 
factions grown desperate ; and whatsoever in offending 
people joineth and knitteth them in a common cause. 

For the remedies, there may be some general preserva- 
o tives, whereof we will speak : as for the just k cure, it must 
answer to the particular disease ; and so be left to counsel 
rather than rule. 

The first remedy or prevention is to remove, by all 
means possible, that material cause of sedition whereof 
we spake, which is, want and poverty in the estate : to 
which purpose serveth the opening and well-balancing 
of trade ; the cherishing of manufactures ; the banishing 
of idleness ; the repressing of waste and excess by 
sumptuary laws; the improvement and husbanding of 
3 the soil ; the regulating of prices of things vendible ; the 
moderating of taxes and tributes ; and the like. Generally, 
it is to be foreseen 1 that the population of a kingdom 

h mate] i. e. beat down. Lat. ani- k just cure] i. e. the exact, the proper 

tnos frangunt. cure. Lat. legitima. The Italian omits 

1 secure] i. e. without care. Vide the word. 

note on Essay 5, p. 37. * to be foreseen] Lat. praecavendum est. 



(especially if it be not mown down by wars) do not exceed 
the stock m of the kingdom which should maintain them. 
Neither is the population to be reckoned only by number ; 
for a smaller number, that spend more and earn less, do 
wear out an estate sooner than a greater number that live 
lower and gather more. Therefore the multiplying of 
nobility, and other degrees of quality, in an over propor 
tion to the common people, doth speedily bring a state 
to necessity ; and so doth likewise an overgrown clergy, 
for they bring nothing to the stock ; and, in like manner, 10 
when more are bred scholars than preferments can take off. : 

It is likewise to be remembered that, forasmuch as the 
increase of any estate must be upon n the foreigner (for 
whatsoever is somewhere gotten is somewhere lost), there 
be but three things which one nation selleth upon another ; 
the commodity, as nature yieldeth it ; the manufacture ; 
and the vecture, or carriage ; so that if these three wheels 
go, wealth will flow as in a spring tide. And it cometh 
many times to pass, that materiam superabit opus, that the 
work and carriage is more worth than the material, and 20 
enricheth a state more : as is notably seen in the Low 
Countrymen, who have the best mines above ground 
in the world. 

) Above all things, good policy is to be used that the 
treasure and moneys in a state be not gathered into few 
hands ; for, otherwise, a state may have a great stock, and 
yet starve : and money is like muck, not good except it be 

m stock] i. e. the available wealth. Conf. ' They should, being divided, 

Lat. proventus. Conf. 'The treasure prove unable to resist him who had 

of gold and silver brought into the won so far upon them when they held 

realm hath been by sundry Acts of together.' Ralegh, Hist, of World, 

Parliament ordained to be as an im- iii, chap. 6, sec. 6. And, ' Besides 

moveable and perpetual stock, which these victories they sacked and spoiled 

should never go forth againe.' Royal many places upon the sea-coast of 

Proclamation, 1614, quoted in Lord Peloponnesus, won upon the Corin- 

Liverpool on Coins, p. 59 (ed. ist, thians, and overthrew the Sicyonians 

4to.). that came to their succour.' Bk. iii, 

n upon] i. e. at the expense of. chap. 7, sec. 6. 

H 2 

ioo ESSAY XV. 

spread. This is done chiefly by suppressing, or at least 
keeping a strait hand upon the devouring trades of 
usury, ingrossing , great pasturages, and the like. 

For removing discontentments, or at least the danger of 
them, there is in every state (as we know) two portions of 
subjects, the noblesse and the commonalty. When one of 
these is discontent, the danger is not great ; for common 
people are of slow motion, if they be not excited by the 
greater sort ; and the greater sort are of small strength, 
10 except the multitude be apt and ready to move of them 
selves : then is the danger, when the greater sort do but 
wait for the troubling of the waters amongst the meaner, 
that then they may declare themselves. The poets feign 
that the rest of the gods would have bound Jupiter; which 
he hearing of, by the counsel of Pallas sent for Briareus, 
with his hundred hands, to come in to his aid : an emblem, 
no doubt, to show how safe it is for monarchs to make sure 
of the good-will of common people. 

To give moderate liberty for griefs and discontentments 

20 to evaporate (so it be without too great insolency or 

bravery p ), is a safe way : for he that turneth the humours 

back, and maketh the wound bleed inwards, endangereth 

malign ulcers and pernicious imposthumations. 

The part of Epimetheus might well become Prometheus 
in the case of discontentments, for there is not a better 
provision against them. Epimetheus, when griefs and 
evils flew abroad, at last shut the lid, and kept Hope in 
the bottom of the vessel. Certainly, the politic and 
artificial' 1 nourishing and entertaining of hopes, and 

ingrossing} ' Ingrossersignifieth in Conf. 'He most wondered at the in- 
the common law one that buyeth corn finite number of lights and torches . . . 
growing or dead victual to sell again.' so artificially set and ordered by de- 
Cowell, Interpreter, sub voce. The vices, some round, some square, that it 
Latin gives the more general monopo- was the rarest thing to behold that eye 
liorum. could discern.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 923. 

P bravery] Lat. audacia. And, ' So artificially did this young 

1 artificial] i. e. skilful or artful. Italian behave herself, that she de- 



carrying men from hopes to hopes, is one of the best 
antidotes against the poison of discontentments : and it is 
a certain sign of a wise government and proceeding, when 
it can hold men's hearts by hopes when it cannot by 
satisfaction ; and when it can handle things in such manner 
as no evil shall appear so peremptory but that it hath 
some outlet of hope ; which is the less hard to do, because 
both particular persons and factions are apt enough to 
flatter themselves, or at least to brave 1 that which they 
believe not. 10 

Also the foresight and prevention, that there be no 
likely or fit head whereunto discontented persons may 
resort, and under whom they may join, is a known but an 
excellent point of caution. I understand a fit head to be 
one that hath greatness and reputation, that hath con 
fidence with the discontented party, and upon whom they 
turn their eyes, and that is thought discontented in his 
own particular 8 : which kind of persons are either to be 
won and reconciled to the state, and that in a fast and true 
manner ; or to be fronted with some other of the same 20 
party that may oppose them, and so divide the reputation. 
Generally, the dividing and breaking of all factions and 
combinations that are adverse to the state, and setting 
them at distance, or at least distrust amongst themselves 
is not one of the worst remedies ; for it is a desperate 
case, if those that hold with the proceeding of the state 
be full of discord and faction, and those that are against it 
be entire and united. 

ceived even the eldest and most jealous 
persons, both in the court and country.' 
Burnet, Hist, of His Own Time/vol. i, 
p. 244 (ed. of 1840 ; 2 vols.). 

r to brave] Lat. ostentare in gloriam 

3 in his own particular] Lat. in suis 
rebus ptivatis. A common phrase. 
Conf. ' When men fall to framing con 
clusions out of their knowledge, apply 

ing it to their particular, and minister 
ing to themselves thereby weak fears 
or vain desires, there groweth that 
carefulness and trouble of mind which 
is spoken of.' Works, iii. 266. ' My 
second suit is that your Majesty would 
not think me so pusillanimous as that 
I ... should now fear him or take um 
brage of him in respect of mine own 
particular.' Letters and Life, vi. 232. 


I have noted that some witty* and sharp speeches which 
have fallen from princes have given fire to seditions. 
Caesar did himself infinite hurt in that speech, Sylla 
nescivit literas, non potuit didare ; for it did utterly cut off 
that hope which men had entertained that he would at one 
time or other give over his dictatorship. Galba undid 
himself by that speech, Legi a se militem, non emi ; for it 
put the soldiers out of hope of the donative. Probus 
likewise by that speech, Si mxero, non opus erit amplius 

10 Romano imperio militibus ; a speech of great despair for 
the soldiers ; and many the like. Surely princes had need 
in tender u matters and ticklish times to beware what they 
say, especially in these short speeches which fly abroad 
like darts, and are thought to be shot out of their secret 
intentions ; for as for large discourses, they are flat things 
and not so much noted. 

Lastly, let princes, against all events, not be without 
some great person, one or rather more, of military valour, 
near unto them, for the repressing of seditions in their 

20 beginnings ; for without that, there useth to be more 
trepidation in court upon the first breaking out of troubles 
than were fit ; and the state runneth the danger of that 
which Tacitus saith ; Atque is habitus animorum fuit, ut 
pessimum facinus auderent pauci, plures vellent, omnes 
paterentur. But let such military persons be assured x , 
and well reputed of, rather than factious and popular ; 

1 witty] Lat. ingeniosa. This comes . . . But I understand a settled, constant, 
more near than usually to the modern and habitual sufficiency of the under- 
sense of the word. ' The present mean- standing, whereby it is enabled in any 
ing of wit ' (says Trench in his Select kind of learning, theory, or practice, 
Glossary, sub voce] ' as compared with both to sharpness in search, subtilty in 
the past, and the period when it was expression and despatch in execution."' 
in the act of transition from the one to Passions and Faculties of the Soul, c. 39. 
the other, cannot be better marked " tender matters] i. e. matters that 
than in the quotation from Bishop need to be handled with care and tact. 
Reynolds. ..." I take not wit in that Conf. ' Things that are tender and un 
common acceptation, whereby men pleasing.' Essay 22. 
understand some sudden flashes of * assured] Lat. fidi omnino esse de- 
conceit whether in style or conference. bent. 


holding also good correspondence with the other great 
men in the state, or else the remedy is worse than the 


P. 94, 1. 2. when things grow to equality] i. e. when the distinc 
tion between rulers and subjects tends to be lost. 

1. 7. Ille etiam &c.] Georgics, i. 464. 

P. 95, 1. i. Libels] Lat. famosi libelli. Bacon elsewhere, and I think 
always, uses ' libels ' in the sense of defamatory writings. This is an 
added sense which the word, in his day, did not necessarily bear. 
On the significance of libels, whether defamatory or not, vide 
Selden's Table Talk, sub voce : ' Though some make slight of Libels, 
yet you may see by them how the Wind sits : As take a Straw and 
throw it up into the Air, you shall see by that which way the Wind 
is, which you shall not do by casting up a Stone. More solid Things 
do not shew the Complexion of the times so well as Ballads and 

1. 7. Illam Terra &c.] Virg. Aen. iv. 178. Conf. ' They do 
recount that the Earth, mother of the giants that made war against 
Jupiter and were by him destroyed, thereupon in anger brought 
forth Fame ; for certain it is that rebels, figured by the giants, and 
seditious fames and libels, are but brothers and sisters, masculine 
and feminine.' Fragment of an Essay on Fame. 

The lines from Virgil are quoted, with like comments, in the 
Advancement of Learning, Works, iii. 344-5 ; and the whole story is 
related and explained in the De Sapientia Veterum, sec. ix. 
Works, vi, 645. 

1. 13. differ no more but as brother and sister} This fancy is 
repeated in the History of Henry VII, where Bacon speaks of 
'swarms and vollies of libels which are the gusts of liberty of 
speech restrained, and the females of sedition.' Works, vi. 153. 

1. 17. as Tacitus saith] The words are : ' Inviso semel principe, 
seu bene seu male facta premunt.' Hist, i, cap. 7. 

1. 24. which Tacitus speaketh of] ' Miles alacer ; qui tamen jussa 
ducum interpretari quam exsequi mallet.' Hist. ii. 39. 

1. 32. As Machiavel &c.] I find a suggestion in Notes and 
Queries that this probably refers to the Discourses on Livy, bk. iii, 
cap. 27. This chapter treats of the mischief resulting from factions, 
and of the right and wrong methods of dealing with them. It says 
inter alia, that if a Republic has under its government a city divided 
into factions, each faction will seek to gain favour, and that ' two 

104 ESSAY XV. 

very great inconveniences arise thereupon : the one is that thou 
canst never make them thy friends, because thou canst not well 
govern them, the rule ofttimes varying sometimes with the one 
humour, sometimes with the other : the other is that that favouring of 
sides must needs divide thy Republic,' and it tells a story of an 
emissary of the French king, who said ' that if in France one of the 
King's subjects should say hee were of the King's party, he would 
bee punished : because such a speech could signifie no lesse than 
that there in the Countrie were enemies to the French King.' 
Dacre's Trans. This is not a satisfactory reference, but I can find 
nothing in Machiavelli nearer to Bacon's words. The Italian version 
of the Essays omits the name of Machiavelli, and gives only ' come 
ben osserva un scrittore.' This opens a tolerably wide field. There 
is an approach to Bacon's metaphor in Guicciardini, who speaks of 
the policy of Lorenzo de' Medici as preserving the peace of Italy, 
and says that he ' procurava con ogni studio che le cose d' Italia in 
modo balanciate si mantenessero, che piu in una che in un' altra 
parte non pendessero.' Storia d' Italia, vol. i, p. 5 (ed. 1821). 

The advice in the text is repeated and the same reasons are 
given for it in Essay 51 : ' Kings had need beware how they side 
themselves and make themselves as of a faction or party,' &c., &c. 

P. 96, 1. 4. Henry III entered league &c.] This was the League of 
the Holy Trinity, formed under the influence of the house of Guise, for 
the defence of the Catholic faith, and to crush the Protestants, but 
with the ulterior design of putting its leader, Henry de Guise, on the 
throne. Henry III pursued no settled policy towards it or towards 
its avowed objects. Early in his reign, in 1576, he gave it his 
support for a time. In 1585, when it had meanwhile been following 
its independent course, with the king or against him, and when it 
had risen steadily in importance and in material power, Henry 
endeavoured again to come to terms with it, and by the Treaty of 
Nemours made a virtual surrender to it while he put himself nomin 
ally at its head. In 1588, finding himself threatened and defied by 
the still growing power of Henry de Guise, he caused him and his 
brother to be assassinated, and by this act provoked the more open 
hostility of the faction, with which he continued at actual war during 
the short remainder of his reign. 

1. 14. ought to be as the motions of the planets &c.] A favourite 
illustration with Bacon. Conf. 'The motions of factions under kings 
ought to be like the motions (as the astronomers speak) of the inferior 
orbs, which may have their proper motions, but yet still are quietly 
carried by the higher motion of primum mobile.' Essay 51 (end). 
' Superstition hath been the confusion of many states and bringeth 
in a new primum mobile that ravisheth all the spheres of govern 
ment.' Essay 17. And again, in his Speech to the Judges before the 


Circuit : ' First, you that are the Judges of Circuits, are as it 
were the planets of the kingdom .... Do therefore as they do ; 
move always and be carried with the motion of your first mover, 
which is your Sovereign.' Letters and Life, vi. 211. 

For an account of the theory, vide Blundevile's Exercises, First 
Book of the Spheare, chap. vi. 

Of the tenth Spheare or heaven, called in Latin, Primum Mobile : 
' This heaven .... continually moveth with an equal gate from 
East to West, making his revolution in 24 houres ; which kind of 
moving is otherwise called the diurnall or daily moving, and by 
reason of the swiftnes thereof it violently carrieth and turneth about 
all the other heavens that are beneath it from East to West in the 
selfe same space of 24 houres whether they will or not, so as 
they are forced to make their own proper revolutions which is 
contrarie from West to East, every one in longer or shorter time 
according as they be farre or neare placed to the same.' 

1. 19. as Tacitus expresseth it well] The words are : ' Promptius 
apertiusque quam ut meminisse imperantium crederes.' Annals, iii. 4. 

1. 23. Solvam cingula regum] These words, which do not occur 
anywhere, seem to have been made up from two passages. In Job 
xii. 18 it is said of the Almighty that ' Balteum regum dissolvit, et 
praecingit fune renes eorum,' but the words convey no threat. In 
Isaiah xlv. i there is a promise to Cyrus, implying a threat to his 
opponents : ' Haec dicit Dominus christo meo Cyro, cujus appre- 
hendi dexteram, et subjiciam ante faciem ejus gentes, et dorsa regum 

P. 97, 1. 6. Materials of seditions, then of ihe motives of them] In p. 98, 
line 24 Bacon speaks of the ' material cause of sedition.' In p. 98, 
line 13 he says, ' The causes and motives of sedition are ' &c. It is 
clear, therefore, that he has in his mind here the Aristotelian four 
fold division of causes, and that he is referring to two of them to the 
material cause and to the efficient cause, the material cause being 
the state of things out of which seditions are apt to arise, the motive 
or efficient cause being that which provokes them into existence. 
Conf. Nov. Org. bk. ii, sec. 2, ' Etiam non male constituuntur causae 
quatuor ; Materia, Forma, Efficiens, et Finis.' Works, i. p. 228. 

For the Aristotelian division, vide Posterior Analytics ii. n, sec. i, 
Amai fie rerrapfs, fiia p.fv TO ri rjv eiVeu, ^ii'a 6e TO rivu>v OVTU>V avdyKr] TOUT' 
tivtu, eTfpa 8e TJ TI npStrop e'/aVi/o-e, Tfrdprr] fie TO rivos eWxa : and Metaph. 
iv. 2. I. 

1. 17. Hinc usura &c.j Lucan i. 181. The reading should be 
avidum, where Bacon gives rapidum. The quotation is otherwise 

1. 23. rebellions of the belly] Lat. quae a venire ortum habent. 

P. 98, 1. 2. Dole ndi modus &c.] ' Paulum diifert patiaris adversa an 

io6 ESSAY XV. 

exspectes : nisi quod tamen est dolendi modus, non est timendi. 
Doleas enim quantum scias accidisse, timeas quantum possit 
accidere.' Pliny, Epist. viii. 17, written, however, not about political 
discontentments or oppressions, but about an inundation of the 

1. 26. well balancing of trade} This is a point on which Bacon 
frequently insists. He lays it down in his Advice to Villiers, and 
gives the reasons for it in accordance with what is known as the 
Mercantile Theory of Trade. Conf. ' Let the foundation of a profit 
able trade be thus laid, that the exportation of home commodities be 
more in value than the importation of foreign ; so shall we be sure 
that the stocks of the kingdom shall yearly increase, for then the 
balance of trade must be returned in money or bullion.' Letters and 
Life, vi, p. 22, and again p. 49. 

1. 27. cherishing of manufactures &c.] Bacon in his Life of 
Henry VII mentions with general approval the laws which were 
passed for these ends, e. g. ' Another statute was made prohibiting 
the bringing in of manufactures of silk wrought by itself or mixt with 
any other thrid .... This law pointed at a true principle : That 
where foreign materials are but superfluities, foreign manufactures 
should be prohibited. For that will either banish the superfluity, or 
gain the manufacture.' Works, vi. 223. 

' There were also made good and politic laws that Parliament .... 
for the employment of the procedures of foreign commodities, 
brought in by merchant strangers, upon the native commodities of 
the realm.' vi. 87. 

1. 30. regulating of prices] ' He made also statutes .... for 
stinting and limiting the prices of cloth : one for the finer and 
another for the coarser sort. Which I note, both because it was a 
rare thing to set prices by statute, especially upon our home 
commodities : and because of the wise model of this act ; not 
prescribing prices, but stinting them not to exceed a rate : that the 
clothier might drape accordingly as he might afford.' Works, vi. 96. 

Bacon finds especial fault with Henry VII for his exactions in not 
moderating taxes and tributes and the like ; vi. 217, 218. 

On ' the multiplying of nobility and other degrees of quality ' 
conf. note on Essay 29, p. 213, and Works, vi. 94, 95. 

P. 99, 1. ii. when more are bred scholars] So, more at length in the 
Advice concerning Sutton's estate : ' Concerning the Advancement of 
Learning, I do subscribe to the opinion of one of the wisest and 
greatest men of your kingdom : That for grammar schools there are 
already too many, and therefore no providence to add where there 
is excess. For the great number of schools which are in your 
Highness realm, doth cause a want and doth cause likewise an 
overflow, both of them inconvenient and one of them dangerous. 


For by means thereof they find want in the country and towns both 
of servants for husbandry and apprentices for trade : and on the 
other side there being more scholars bred than the state can prefer 
and employ, and the active part of that life not bearing a proportion 
to the preparative, it must needs fall out that many persons will be 
bred unfit for other vocations, and unprofitable for that in which they 
are brought up ; which fills the realm full of indigent idle and wanton 
people, which are but materia rerum novarum.' Letters and Life, 
iv. 252. 

1. 14. whatsoever is somewhere gotten is somewhere lost] Conf. Tfjs 8t 
pTa[3\r)TiKris ^(yofjLfvrjs SiKai'wy, ov -yap Kara (f>v(Tii> aXX' aV aXXijXtoi' fcrriv. 

Arist. Pol. i, cap. 5, sec. 4. ' Lucrum sine damno alterius fieri non 
potest.' Publius Syrus, Fragmenta, De rerum vicissitudine, 1. 60. 

So too Montaigne (Essays, bk. i, chap. 21) lays it down as a 
universal truth that 'il ne se faict aucun profit qu'au dommage 

Bacon's statement is a legitimate inference from the mercantile 
theory. If wealth means gold and silver, a nation can become 
wealthy only at an exactly equivalent loss to all the rest of the world. 

1. 19. materiam superabit opus] Adapted from Ovid, Metam., bk. ii. 5. 

1.22. best mines above ground] Conf. 'The Low Countries 
generally have three cities at least for one of ours, and those far 
more populous and rich. . . . Their chiefest loadstone, which draws 
all manner of commerce and merchandise, which maintains their 
present state, is not fertility of soil, but industry that enricheth them : 
the gold mines of Peru or Nova Hispania may not compare with 
them. They have neither gold nor silver of their own. . . . little or 
no wood, tin, lead, iron, silk, wool, any stuff at most or mettle, and 
yet Hungary Transilvania that brag of their mines, fertile England, 
cannot compare with them.' Burton, Anat. of Melancholy, vol. i, 
p. 77, ed. 1837. Bacon in his Advice to Villiers uses the same 
metaphor : ' In the next place, I beseech you to take into your serious 
consideration that Indian wealth, which this island and the seas 
thereof excel in, the hidden and rich treasure of fishing .... Half a 
day's sail with a good wind will shew the mineral and the miners.' 
Letters and Life, vi. p. 24. 

1. 27. money is like muck] Conf. Apophthegms, ' Mr. Bettenham 
used to say ; That riches were like muck ; when it lay upon an heap 
it gave but a stench and ill odour ; but when it was spread upon the 
ground then it was cause of much fruit.' Works, vii. 160. 

P. 100, 1. 2. trades of usury] Conf. 'The discommodities of usury 
are . . . that it bringeth the treasure of a realm or state into a few 
hands ; for the usurer being at certainties and others at uncertainties, at 
the end of the game most of the money will be in the box ; and ever 
a state flourisheth when wealth is more equally spread.' Essay 41. 

io8 ESSA.Y XV. 

1. 3. ingrossing] The Statute Book of the i6th century contains 
many prohibitive Acts against buying to resell. The largest of these, 
the Act of 5 & 6 Edward VI, c. 14, against ' regrators, forestallers and 
ingrossers,' continued and made perpetual by 13 Eliz. c. 25, ordains, 
inter alia, ' that whatsoever person shall ingross or get into his hands, 
by buying contracting or promise-taking, any corn or grain, butter, 
cheese, fish or other dead victuals whatsoever within the realm of 
England to the intent to sell the same again shall be accepted reputed 
and taken an unlawful ingrosser ; and it makes him, and other like 
offenders, punishable with imprisonment and forfeiture ; and for the 
third offence with forfeiture pillory and imprisonment during the 
King's pleasure.' This statute was in force in Bacon's day. It was 
modified from time to time, most notably by 15 Charles II, c. 7, sec. 4, 
but it was left in full force, even then, against 'forestallers,' i.e. 
resellers in the same market within three months after buying. 
It was finally repealed in 1772, with all other like statutes, by 12 
George III, cap. 71. But in spite of this, forestalling, regrating and 
engrossing were held by some judicial authorities to be still offences 
at common law. M c Culloch (Smith's Wealth of Nations, fourth 
edition, note to p. 237) says that as late as 1800 an indictment was 
laid against a corn merchant for having sold thirty quarters of oats 
in the same market and on the same day at an advance of two 
shillings a quarter. The man was tried, Lord Kenyon summed 
up strongly against him, and he was found guilty, but the judges 
doubted whether such a sale was really punishable, and he was 
never brought up for judgment. 

! 3- great pasturages] In 1597 'Mr. Bacon made a motion 
against depopulation of towns and houses of husbandry, and for the 
maintenance of husbandry and tillage. And to this purpose he 
brought in two bills .... He said he had perused the preambles of 
former statutes, and by them did see the inconveniences of this 
matter, being then scarce out of the shell, to be now fully ripened. . . . 
And though it may be thought ill and very prejudicial to lords that 
have enclosed great grounds and pulled down even whole towns, and 
converted them to sheep pastures ; yet considering the increase 
of people and the benefit of the commonwealth I doubt not but every 
man will deem the revival of former moth-eaten laws in this point 
a praise-worthy thing. . . . For enclosure of grounds brings depopu 
lation, which brings forth first idleness, secondly decay of tillage, 
thirdly subversion of houses, and decrease of charity and charge to the 
poor's maintenance, fourthly the impoverishing the state of the 
realm. . . . And I should be sorry to see within this kingdom that 
piece of Ovid's verse prove true, "Jam seges est ubi Troja fuit;" 
so in England, instead of a whole town full of people, none but 
green fields, but a shepherd and a dog.' Letters and Life, ii. 82. 


The ' moth-eaten laws ' had been passed from time to time in the 
reigns of former sovereigns, and in the first year of Elizabeth's 
reign. Bacon in his Life of Henry VII refers with praise to the 
earliest of them, viz. 4 Henry VII, cap. 19: 'Another statute was 
made of singular policy .... Inclosures at that time began to be more 
frequent, whereby arable land . . . was turned into pasture. This 
bred a decay of people, and by consequence a decay of towns, churches, 
tithes and the like. ... In remedying of this inconvenience the King's 
wisdom was admirable and the Parliament's at that time. Inclosures 
they would not forbid, for that had been to forbid the improvement of 
the patrimony of the kingdom ; nor tillage they would not compel, for 
that was to strive with nature and utility. . . . The ordinance was, that 
all houses of husbandry, that were used with twenty acres of ground 
and upwards, should be maintained and kept up for ever ; together 
with a competent proportion of land to be used and occupied with 
them, and in nowise to be severed from them,' &c. &c. Works, vi. 93. 

It is curious to remark that the statute which Bacon commended 
to Parliament in 1597, 39 Elizabeth cap. 2, did the two things which 
he praises Henry and his Parliament for not having tried to do. 
It ordained that arable land which had been turned to pasture 
during the Queen's reign should go back to arable, a strife, in 
Bacon's words, 'with nature and utility,' and that for the future 
no more should be done in that way, forbidding thereby the ' improve 
ment of the patrimony of the kingdom.' 

1. 13. The poets feign] Bacon tells this story a little varied in 
the Advancement of Learning, and insists on the part played by 
Pallas as the goddess of wisdom : ' So in the fable that the rest 
of the Gods having conspired to bind Jupiter, Pallas called Briareus 
with his hundred hands to his aid ; expounded that monarchies 
need not fear any curbing of their absoluteness by mighty subjects, 
as long as by wisdom they keep the hearts of the people, who will 
be sure to come in on their side.' Works, iii. 345. 

This is an instance of what Mr. Spedding terms Bacon's habit of 
improving a quotation. It was not Pallas who either sent for Briareus 
or advised Jupiter to send for him ; it was Thetis according to 
Homer; according to Hesiod it was Gaia. The part assigned to 
Pallas, if any, was that of one of the conspirators. 

HoXXa/tt yap aeo irarpos evt fjieydponnv aKOvaa 

r f(pT]cr6a Ke\aive(pfi Kpoviwvi 
ev ddavdroiffiv deiKta Xotyov ap.vvai, 

rw8^(rat 'OXujUTnot rj6e\ov XXoi, 
"Hpr) T', f)8f IIo<m8da>j/, Kai IlaXXa? " 
dXXa crv rov y e'X$oi<ra, Oca, inreKvcrao 
S>x.' (KaToyxeipov KaXeVao"' ts paKpov 
op Bpidpewy KaXeouon deoi K.r.X. Iliad L 396. 


But in line 400 there is a var. lee., *ot/3os 'AnoXXav for IlaXXas 'A6f]vr], 
and the entire line is doubtful. 

Hesiod tells the story differently. The struggle was between 
the Gods, the descendants of Kronos, and the Titans, and it was by 
the aid of Briareus and his two brothers that it was ended in favour 
of the Gods. About the counsel of Pallas there is no word in either 
version. Hesiod, Theogon. 633, &c. 

1. 24. Epimetheus\ Bacon tells this well-known story, with the 
same incorrectness of detail, in his Wisdom of the Ancients, sec. 26 
(Works, vi. 669), and interprets it at greater length. 

P. 102, 1. 3. Caesar} This is recorded by Suetonius, but only as one 
in a series of sayings and doings, each of them far more calculated 
to offend and alarm. ' Praegravant tamen cetera facta dictaque ejus, 
ut et abusus dominatione, et jure caesus existimetur. Non enim 
honores modo nimios recepit, ut continuum consulatum, perpetuam 
dictaturam, praefecturamque morum, insuper praenomen imperatoris, 
cognomen patris patriae, statuam inter reges, suggestum in orchestra ; 
sed ampliora etiam humano fastigio decerni sibi passus est .... Nee 
minoris impotentiae voces propalam edebat, ut T. Ampius scribit : 
Nihil esse rempublicam, adpellationem modo, sine corpore, ac 
speciem. Syllam nescisse literas, qui dictaturam deposuerit. Debere 
homines consideratius jam loqui secum, ac pro legibus habere quae 

dicat Verum praecipuam et inexpiabilem sibi invidiam hinc 

maxime movit : Adeuntes se cum pluribus honorificentissimisque 
decretis, universes patres conscriptos sedens pro aede Veneris 
Genetricis excepit.' More follows to the same effect. Suetonius, 
Julius Caesar, cap. 76-78. 

Bacon, in the Advancement of Learning, mentions the speech in 
the text among other speeches of Caesar ' admirable for vigour 
and efficacy,' and helping to prove the ' excellency of his learning.' 
Works, iii. 313. And he gives it a place in his Apophthegms. 
Works, vii. 144. 

1. 6. Galbd] ' Nee deerant sermones senium atque avaritiam 
Galbae increpantium. Laudata olim et militari fama celebrata 
severitas ejus augebat aspernantes veterem disciplinam .... Accessit 
Galbae vox pro re publica honesta, ipsi anceps, legi a se militem non 
emi.' Tacitus, Hist. i. 5. 

1. 8. Probus] Vopiscus, who is the chief authority on Probus, 
mentions a speech to something like this effect, among the causes 
of Probus' murder, but writing as a historian, he does not give it the 
prominence which Bacon gives it. ' Causae occidendi ejus hae fuere : 
Primum, quod nunquam militem otiosum esse perpessus est, siquidem 
multa opera militari manu perfecit ; dicens annonam gratuitam 
militem comedere non debere. His addidit dictum ejus grave .... Quia 
totum mundum fecerat jam Romanum ; Brevi, inquit, milites neces- 


sarios non habebimus .... Addam illud quod praecipue tanto viro 
fatalem properavit necessitatem. Nam quum Sirmium venisset, ac 
solum patrium effoecundari cuperet et dilatari, ad siccandam quam- 
dam paludem multa simul milia militum posuit, ingentem parans 
fossam .... Permoti milites, confugientem eum .... interemerunt. 
Sylburgius, Historiae Augustae Scriptores Latini Minores (ed. 
1588), vol. ii. p. 294, 1. 30 et seqq. 

1. 23. Tacitus saith\ Hist. i. 28. These words describe the 
temper of the soldiers at Rome among whom Otho was proclaimed 
emperor in opposition to the reigning emperor Galba. 



I HAD rather believe* all the fables in the legend, and the 
Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is 
without a mind ; and, therefore, God never wrought miracle 
to convince b atheism, because his ordinary works convince 
it. It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind 
to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds 
about to religion ; for while the mind of man looketh upon 
second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, 
and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of 
them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly 10 
to Providence and Deity. Nay, even that school which is 
most accused of atheism doth most demonstrate religion : 
that is, the school of Leucippus, and Democritus, and 
Epicurus: for it is a thousand times more credible that 
four mutable elements, and one immutable fifth essence, 

* / had rather believe} The Latin religionis citius crediderim, &c. Works, 

substitutes for this Minus durum est i. 694. It may be taken, therefore, as 

credere. So too the Italian, piu tosto correct. The French gives literally, 

crederei. This agrees with the corre- faimeroye mieux croire. 

spending passage in the Antitheta b to convince'} i. e. to refute. Lat. 

Fabulosissima quaeque portenta cujusvis ad atheismum convincendum. 


duly and eternally placed, need no God, than that an army 
of infinite small portions or seeds unplaced, should have 
produced this order and beauty without a divine marshal. 
The Scripture saith, The fool hath said in his heart, there is 
no God ; it is not said, The fool hath thought in his heart ; 
so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would 
have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be per 
suaded of it ; for none deny there is a God, but those for 
whom it maketh c that there were no God. It appeareth 

10 in nothing more that atheism is rather in the lip than in 
the heart of man than by this, that atheists will ever be 
talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it within 
themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened by the 
consent of others ; nay more, you shall have atheists strive 
to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects ; and, which 
is most of all, you shall have of them d that will suffer for 
atheism, and not recant ; whereas, if they did truly think 
that there were no such thing as God, why should they 
trouble themselves ? Epicurus is charged, that he did but 

20 dissemble for his credit's sake, when he affirmed there 
were blessed natures, but such as enjoyed themselves 
without having respect to the government of the world ; 
wherein they say he did temporize, though in secret he 
thought there was no God. But certainly he is traduced, 
for his words are noble and divine : Non Deos vulgi negare 
prqfanum ; sed vulgi opiniones Diis applicare profanum. 
Plato could have said no more ; and although he had the 
confidence to deny the administration, he had not the 
power to deny the nature. The Indians of the west have 

30 names for their particular gods, though they have no name 
for God : as if the heathens should have had the names 
Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, &c., but not the word Dens, which 

c for whom it maketK\ i. e. for not for his safety.' Works, vi. 

whose advantage it is. Lat. cui 242. 

Deos non esse expedit. Conf. ' Which d you shall have of them] i. e. there 

made for his absoluteness but are some of them. Lat. quidam ex Hits. 


shows that even those barbarous people have the notion, 
though they have not the latitude and extent of it ; so that 
against atheists the very savages take part with the very 
subtilest philosophers. The contemplative atheist is rare ; 
a Diagoras, a Bion, a Lucian perhaps, and some others ; 
and yet they seem to be more than they are ; for that all 
that impugn a received religion, or superstition, are, by 
the adverse part, branded with the name of atheists. But / 
the great atheists indeed are hypocrites, which are ever 
handling holy things, but without feeling ; so as they must 10 
needs be cauterized in the end. The causes of atheism 
are, divisions in religion, if they be many; for any one 
main division addeth zeal to both sides, but many divisions 
introduce atheism : another is, scandal of priests, when it 
is come to that which St. Bernard saith, Non est jam dicere 
ut populuSj sic sacerdos ; quia nee sic populus, ut sacerdos: 
a third is, custom of profane scoffing in holy matters, 
which doth by little and little deface the reverence of re 
ligion ; and lastly, learned times, specially with peace and 
prosperity ; for troubles and adversities do more bow 20 
men's minds to religion. They that deny a God destroy 
man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by 
his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he 
is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise mag 
nanimity, and the raising of human nature; for take an 
example of a dog, and mark what a generosity and courage 
he will put on when he finds himself maintained 6 by a 
man, who to him is instead of a God, or melior natura ; 
which courage is manifestly such as that creature, without 
that confidence of a better nature than his own, could 3 
never attain. So man, when he resteth and assureth him 
self upon divine protection and favour, gathereth a force 

6 maintained} i. e. supported or and would often maintain Plautianus 
backed. Coiif. ' He forced his eldest in doing affronts to his son.' Essay 
son to marry the daughter of Plautianus, 27. 




and faith which human nature in itself could not obtain ; 
therefore, as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, 
that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself 
above human frailty. As it is in particular persons, so it 
is in nations : never was there such a state for magnanimity 
as Rome. Of this state hear what Cicero saith; Quam 
volumus, licet, Patres conscripti, nos amemus, tamen nee 
numero Hispanos, nee robore Gallos, nee calliditate Poenos, 
nee artibus Graecos, nee denique hoc ipso hujus gentis et terrae 
10 domestico nativoque sensu Italos ipsos et Latinos ; sed pietate, 
ac religione, atque hdc und sapientid, quod Deorum immor- 
talium numine omnia regi, gubernarique perspeximus, omnes 
gentes nationesque superavimus. 


P. Ill, 1. 1. the legend] i.e. the Golden Legend, compiled by Jacobus 
de Voragine of Genoa (whose long life extended over almost the 
whole of the thirteenth century), and translated from the original Latin 
into several modern European languages. An English version was 
published by Wynkyn de Worde in 1527. It begins with a curious 
blending of Scripture with monkish fable. Scriptural persons are 
introduced, and in some parts the Scriptural narrative is followed, but 
with so many and so strange additions, that the later passage into the 
region of pure fable is scarcely felt as a change. The story of the con 
test between St. Peter and Symon the sorcerer belongs to the earlier 
period ; the lives of St. Brandon, St. Clare, and St. Francis to the latter. 
St. Francis, the founder of the freres mynours (fratres minores), is put 
forward as a model of piety and excellence. But we are told also that, 
during his stay in Alessandria, he had a capon seven years old for 
dinner, and that he gave a leg of it to a pretended beggar, who ex 
hibited it to the people as proof of the delicate living of the saint. 
Suddenly, however, it changed in the man's hand to the semblance of 
a fish, and the intended trick failed. Then, when the man had ceased 
to exhibit it, the leg changed back again into what it was before. This 
is a fair average specimen of the contents of the book. It is by 
no means absurd throughout. It contains lessons of charity and 
devotion, as well as silly tales. The concluding words are, ' Thus 
endeth the Legend, named in Latin Legenda Aurea . . . for lyke as 
gold passeth all other metalles, so this boke exceedeth all other bokes.' 
1. i. The Talmud] Of the Talmud, or sacred common law of 


the Jews, there are two recensions, the Palestinian and the Baby 
lonian. Each of these is made up of two parts, the Mishna or 
decisions of early Jewish doctors on the law, and the Gemara or 
explanatory and critical remarks of later doctors on the Mishna, 
introducing by the way a vast heterogeneous mass of traditions and 
scientific views. The Mishna is substantially the same in both 
recensions. The Babylonian Gemara is the one which has come 
into vogue, to the neglect of the Palestinian. The Babylonian 
Gemara has its wonder stories, but not in the same proportion to 
the rest of the book as those in the Legend. Hershon's A Talmudic 
Miscellany (1880) gives numerous specimens of them. Among the 
most curious, but far too long to quote, is the story of Ashmedai, the 
king of the demons, and his relations with King Solomon, p. 93. 
Another is as follows : ' Caesar once said to Rabbi Yoshua ben 
Chananja, " This God of yours is compared to a lion . . . Wherein 
consists his excellency? A horseman kills a lion." The Rabbi replied, 
" He is not compared to an ordinary lion, but to a lion of the forest 
Ilaei." " Show me that lion at once," said the Emperor ... So the Rabbi 
prayed to God to help him in his perplexity. His prayer was heard : 
the lion came forth from his lair and roared, upon which, though it 
was four hundred miles away, all the walls of Rome trembled and 
fell to the ground. Approaching three hundred miles nearer, he 
roared again, and this time the teeth of the people dropped out of 
their mouths and the Emperor fell from his throne quaking. "Alas ! 
Rabbi, pray to thy God that he order the lion back to his abode in 
the forest " ' (p. 249). 

But the Miscellany does not give a fair average specimen of 
the contents of the Talmud. Its avowed purpose is polemical. 
It aims at proving to the Jews that the book does not deserve the 
implicit national reverence which they pay to it. Chiarini's French 
version of a continuous portion of the book gives a different im 
pression from that conveyed by a studied selection of its most 
fanciful and outrageous parts. Both writers deal with the Babylonian 

1. 2. the Alcoran] The Coran (al is the Arabic article) borrows 
its stories very largely from the Talmud. Most of them are Biblical 
adaptations with much added matter: some are entirely original. 
The secret history (chap, xii) of Joseph and his brethren, ending with 
Joseph's prayer that he may die a Moslem and be joined with the 
righteous, is a specimen of the first class. The account of Solomon 
and his armies of genii and men and birds, and his adventures and 
intrigues (chap, xxvii), is said by Sale to be from the Talmud. That 
Mahomet was transported by night from the sacred temple of Mecca 
to the further temple of Jerusalem (chap, xvii), belongs to the last 
and least numerous class of entirely original stories. 

I 2 


These three books, the Legend, the Talmud, and the Coran, are 
treated by Ben Jonson even more irreverently than by Bacon. His 
'An Execration to Vulcan,' written on the burning of some of his 
manuscripts, names the three, in company with a heap of rubbish, as 
fit food for fire, fitter than his own carefully laboured writings 

had been. 

' Many a ream 

To redeem mine I had sent in, enough 
Thou shouldst have cried and all been proper stuff 
The Talmud and the Alcoran had come 
With pieces of the Legend, the whole sum 
Of errant knighthood with the dames and dwarfs,' &c., &c. 
Conf. also Jackson's dedication (date 1613) prefixed to the first 
edition of two sermons by Hooker, where he speaks of 'dreams and 
false miracles of counterfeit saints, enrolled in that sottish Legend, 
coined and amplified by a drowsy head between sleeping and 
waking.' Keble's Hooker, vol. iii. p. 816 (ed. 1836). 

1. 4. to convince atheism} Conf. ' The bounds of this knowledge 
(of Natural Philosophy) are that it sufficeth to convince atheism but 
not to inform religion : and therefore there was never miracle 
wrought by God to convert an atheist, because the light of nature 
might have led him to confess a God.' Works, iii. 349. 

1. 5. a little philosophy] This and much else of the Essay occurs 
in the Meditationes Sacrae ; De Atheismo. Bacon, in these, starts 
from the text which he uses below in the Essay Dixit insipiens in 
corde suo, non est Deus, and he argues from it to the same effect, but 
more at length and with some additions. Works, vii. 239-40. Conf. 
also ' It is an assured truth, and a conclusion of experience, that 
a little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind 
of man to atheism ; but a further proceeding therein doth bring the 
mind back again to religion ; for in the entrance of philosophy, when 
the second causes which are next unto the senses do offer themselves 
to the mind of man, if it dwell and stay there it may induce some 
oblivion of the highest cause ; but when a man passeth on further, 
and seeth the dependence of causes and the works of Providence, 
then, according to the allegory of the poets, he will easily believe 
that the highest link of nature's chain must needs be tied to the foot 
of Jupiter's chair.' Works, iii. 267. 

1. 13. Leucippus, Democritus, and Epicurus] Here referred to only 
as holding the atomic theory and as accused of atheism. Conf. 

&T)[j.6KptTos fJ.ev trvp n KOI 6fpp.6v (prjtriv avrfjv (rfjv ^vx^v) fivai' dneiprnv yap 
OVTCHV (rxTlpaTow Koi aTOficov ra (T<pa.ipo(i8f] TTvp Kal tyvxyv Xeyei, olov eV TW 
ae pi ra KoXovfifva voytara, a (paiverai ev rats 8ia T>V 6vpi8a>v a/mcrti>, lav TTJV 
iravaireppiav crTot^eia Xe-yet TTJS 0X77? (pvcrfas. 'Opoias de KOI AfVKnrrros. 

Arist. de Anima, i. cap. 2, sec. 3. 


On the atheism of this school, conf. ' Quid Democritus, qui turn 
imagines earumque circuitus in Deorum numero refert, turn illam 
naturam quae imagines fundat ac mittat, turn scientiam intelligen- 
tiamque nostram, nonne in maximo errore versatur? Quum idem 
omnino, quia nihil semper suo statu maneat, neget esse quidquam 
sempiternum ; nonne Deum omnino ita tollit ; ut nullam opinionem 
ejus reliquam faciat ?' Cicero, De Nat. Deorum, i. 12, sec. 29. 

On the atomic theory, as held by Epicurus, Diogenes Laertius 
writes at great length. Conf. e. g. To irdv ecrrl crw/na* TO. fj.ev yap o-ob/uaTa 
a)s eariv, Kal avTT] f] ai<r6r)cris eVt TTUVTCDV fiaprvpei .... TSi/ aoapdrcov ra fiev 
eWi (TvyKplcreis, TO 5' e' $)v at o-vyKplcreis TrenoirjvTcu. raOra 8e ecmv aYo/ia 
Kai dp.fTd{3\r)Ta .... "Gore ras dpxas, drofnovs dvayKalov eivai o-w/iaVwz' (pvaeis. 

Diog. Laert. lib. x. sec. 39, 42, 41. 

On the theistic views of Epicurus, who asserted the existence of 
Gods, but denied their interference with human affairs, or with the 
government of the world, conf. npSirov /xeV, rbv debv 5>ov a<pdaprov KOI 
paKapiov vopifav, ws 17 KOIVT) rot) deov vorjcris i>Treypd<pr) .... Ildv 8e TO <pv\dr- 
Tfiv avrov Svvdfifvov TTJV pera dfpOaptrias /naKaptdr^ra irepi avrbv doaf. 
What he implied by this is seen in another passage : To paitdpiov KOI 
afpSaprov ovre avrb Trpdyfjiara e^et ovre aXXo> Trape^et ware ovre opydis, ovrt 
Xapuri (Tvve^rai, ev d<rdevei yap irav TO TOIOVTOV. Diog. Laertius X. 

sec. 123, 139. 

On which Cicero remarks, ' Epicurus vero ex animis hominum 
extraxit radicitus religionem, quum Diis immortalibus et opem et 
gratiam sustulit,' et seq. De Natura Deorum, xliii. 121. 

Lucretius admits the inference, but in terms very different from 
those which Cicero employs. Vide Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, 
bk. i. 57 et seq. and passim. 

1. 15. four mutable elements &c.] Bacon is referring here to the 
views which he ascribes elsewhere to Aristotle. Conf. ' Aristotelis 
temeritas et cavillatio nobis caelum peperit phantasticum, ex quinta 
essentia, experte mutationis, experte etiam caloris. Atque misso in 
praesenti sermone de quatuor elementis quae quinta essentia ilia 
supponit,' &c. Works, iii. 749. This seems to be based on several 
passages in the De Caelo. Conf. especially, AeiVerai apa roOro 8elt-at, 
on 6 ovpavbs e' cmavros rov (pvo~iKov Kal TOV alo-dijTov (rvvf&TrjKe (ra>p.aTOS .... 
Gore ovre viiv eto-i ir\eiovs ovpavoi, OUT' fyevovro, our' eVSe^erai yeveaOai 

irXeiovs' dXX" els Kal povos. Kal reXeios OVTOS ovpavos eo~Tiv OUT' ev TOTTW 

irf(f)VKtv, ovre xpovos avra iroiel yr)pd<rKeiv, ov8' ecrrlv ovBevbs ov8e/j,ia 
ra>v vntp TTJV e^atrdToo Terayiievaiv (popav, aXX' dvaXXo/wTa Kal aTradrj 
TTJV dpio~TTjv e^ovra a>r)v Kal rfjv aiirapKea-Tdrijv 8iarf\el rbv airavra alS>va. De 

Caelo, i. cap. 9, sec. 7, 13, 14. 

Plutarch refers in several places to this theory of Aristotle, e. g. in 
the Opinions of Philosophers, bk. i. cap. 3 : ' Aristoteles of Stagira, 
the son of Nicomachus, hath put down for elements, foure, 


and for a fifth quintessence, the heavenly body which is immutable.' 
Morals, p. 662 (Holland's trans.) 

Quintessence (nf^nrrj ola-ia) is a phrase not found in Aristotle, but it 
has been not unaptly fathered upon him by later writers as equivalent 
to that which he describes in other terms. 

P. 112, 1. 4. The Scripture saith\ Psalm xiv. i and liii. i. The com 
ment on this text is drawn out at much greater length and substantially 
to the same effect in the Meditationes Sacrae, and the remark is added, 
which occurs early in the Essay, ' that a little natural philosophy and 
the first entrance into it inclines men's opinions to Atheism ; but on 
the other hand much natural philosophy and a deeper progress into 
it brings men's minds about again to religion.' Works, vii. pp. 239, 

1. 19. Epicurus is charged] Conf. ' Verius est igitur nimirum illud, 
quod familiaris omnium nostrum Posidonius disseruit in libro quinto 
de natura Deorum, nullos esse Deos Epicuro videri : quaeque is de 
Diis immortalibus dixerit, invidiae detestandae gratia dixisse. Neque 
enim tarn desipiens fuisset ut homunculi similem Deum fingeret, 
lineamentis dumtaxat extremis, non habitu solido, membris hominis 
praeditum omnibus, usu membrorum ne minimo quidem, exilem 
quemdam atque perlucidum, nihil cuiquam tribuentem, nihil gratifi- 
cantem, omnino nihil curantem, nihil agentem. Quae natura primum 
nulla esse potest : idque videns Epicurus, re tollit, oratione relinquit 
Deos.' Cicero, De Nat. Deorum, i. 44, sec. 123. 

1. 25. his words are noble and divine\ Conf. 6eo! p.ev yap elaiv. 
evapyfjs fj.fv yap fcmv a&T&f TJ yvaxris. olovs 8' avrovs ol TroXXol vop.lov(nv oln 
flcrlv' ov yap <pv\aTTOv<ni> avrovs otovs vofii^ovcriv. d<re/3ij? 8e } oi/% 6 TOVS TH' 
TToXXwj/ dfovs avaip&v, dXX' 6 ras T>V 7roXXo>> 86as 6fo~is npoa-diTTaiv. Diog. 
Laertius, x. sec. 123. When Bacon praises these words as noble and 
divine, it seems, strangely, not to have occurred to him that his own 
opinions are included among those which Epicurus condemns and 

1. 29. The Indians of the west] Father Acosta, writing to prove 
' that the Indians have some knowledge of God,' says, ' They com 
monly acknowledge a supreme Lord and author of all things, which 
they of Peru called Unachocha, and gave him names of great excel 
lence Him they did worship as the chiefest of all whom they 

did honour in beholding the heaven. The like wee see amongest 

them of Mexico and China and all other infidelles Those which 

at this day do preach the Gospel to the Indians, find no great difficulty 
to perswade them that there is a high God and Lord over all, and 
that this is the Christian's God and the true God. And yet it hath 
caused great admiration in me, that although they had this know 
ledge, yet had they no proper name for God. If wee shall seeke into 
the Indian tongue for a word to answer to this name of God, as in 


Latin, Deus, in Greeke, Theos, in Hebrew, El, in Arabike, Alia; but 
wee shall not find any in the Cuscan or Mexicaine tongues. So as 
such as preach or write to the Indians use our Spanish name Dios.' 
Natural and Morall Historic of the East and West Indies, lib. v. cap. 
3 (trans, by E. G. 1604). 

P. 113, 1. 4. The contemplative atheist] If this is meant as a contrast 
with 'those for whom it maketh that there were no God,' the choice of 
Bion, a man of infamous character, as a specimen of the class, does 
not seem happy. But Bion's morals, it may perhaps be urged, were 
not worse than those of the Gods, whose existence he dared to call 
in question. 

Diagoras, of Melos, flourished in the latter part of the fifth century 
B.C. The name of atheist has been put upon him by almost universal 
consent. It is certain that he was opposed to the current theological 
beliefs of his age, and that in 411 B.C. he fled from Athens to escape 
being tried on a charge of impiety. Plutarch is among the many 
writers who speak of him as an atheist. Conf. ' Some of the philo 
sophers, and namely, Diagoras of the Isle of Melos, Theodorus the 
Cyrenaean, and Euemerus of Tegea, held resolutely that there were 
no Gods.' Plutarch, Morals, Opinions of Philosophers, i. cap. 7 (p. 
664 in Holland's trans.). 

So, too, Aelian : Kal TIS OVK av fTTrjvecrf rr)v TO>V |3ap/3apa>i/ o~o(piav ; tiye 
p.r)S(ls avTu>v els adfOTrjra e^eirffff, UlSe ajuxpt/3a\Xoi;<ji nepl QeSn/, apd yt (l<rii> 
i) OVK (lo~iv' /cat dpd ye rjfjioav (ppovTiovo~w, f] ov. OvBfls yovv fvvoiav eAa/3e 
roiavT^Vf oiav 6 Einj/iepos 6 Mf crarjvi.os, fj Aioyfvrjs 6 3>pv, f/ <r l7Tira>i> ) fj Ata- 
yopnr, K.T.A. Var. Hist. ii. cap. 31. At the close of cap. 23 he speaks of 
him, as Qeols f%6pos Aiayopaj. 

Cicero also speaks of him as bearing the name of atheist : ' Dia 
goras Atheos ille qui dicitur.' De Nat. Deorum, iii. cap. 37. 

The passage in the Clouds, 1. 830, where Aristophanes speaks of 

ScoKpaTTjs 6 MrjXios as teaching that Ati/o? /SacnAeve*, TOV At" ff\r)\aKa>s } is a 

clear reference to the Melian Diagoras, and may serve to explain the 
nature of his alleged atheism, and to limit it to the sense which Bacon 
assigns to it, as involving no more than the impugning a received 

Bion flourished about the middle of the third century B. c. He 
attached himself, in turn, to several philosophical schools, and, among 
others, to the school of Theodorus the atheist. Diogenes Laertius 
has preserved and endorsed a story that, in his last illness, he 
repented of his offences against the Deity, and took up with various 
superstitious practices. He concludes his life of Bion with some 
mocking verses on his early atheism and his alleged death-bed con 
version. Conf. 

wpeta fJi(Trj\d(, 
TOV d6fov. 


Kal vtrrepov TTOTt, efjLTTfcrtoV els vocrov, ..... 
jrepianra Xa/3eti> enfiadt], KOI fj-frayivoxTKeiv 
((>' ols fir\r]fjiijie\rj(rev es TO Qelov. Bk. iv. SCC. 52, 54. 

The verses which follow are too long to quote. 

1. 5. a Lucian perhaps] This instance is borne out, if at all, by 
the Hermotimus, a dialogue in which much of the argument used 
and finally approved is identical with that in Hume's well-known 
essay Of a particular Providence and of a Future State. Most of 
Lucian's writings do not go beyond the impugning a received religion 
or superstition. 

1. 15. that which Bernard saith\ The passage in the text is not what 
Bernard saith, if indeed the words are Bernard's at all. ' Da voci 
tuae vocem virtutis : consonet vita verbis : et statim erit in ore tuo 
vivus et efficax sermo Dei, et penetrabilior omni gladio ancipiti. Non 
sic profecto est ; sed sicut populus sic et sacerdos : sicut laicus sic et 
clericus. Uterque cupit, uterque diligit mundum,' &c. Ad Pastores 
in Synodo Congregates Sermo, sec. 8. 

This address is printed by Migne (Patrologiae Cursus Completus) 
among St. Bernard's works, in vol. iii, but as of doubtful authorship. 
The heading is Cujuscunque sit, nee inelegans est, nee lectu indignus. 

1. 17. custom of profane scoffing] Conf. ' Two principal causes 
have I ever known of Atheism : curious controversies, and profane 
scoffing.' Letters and Life, i. p. 77. 

1. 28. melior natura] A phrase taken from Ovid : 

' Hanc Deus et melior litem natura diremit.' 

Metaph. bk. i. 21. 

P. 114, 1. 6. what Cicero saith] Vide 'Oratio de haruspicum 
responsis.' Cap. ix. sec. 19. The reading should be ' ipsi nos amemus.' 
The quotation is otherwise correct. 


IT were better to have no opinion of God at all than 
such an opinion as is unworthy of him ; for the one is un 
belief, the other is contumely : and certainly superstition 
is the reproach of the Deity. Plutarch saith well to that 
purpose ; Surely, saith he, / had rather a great deal men 


should say there was no such man at all as Plutarch, than 
that they should say that there was one Plutarch that would 
eat his children as soon as they were born; as the poets 
speak of Saturn : and, as the contumely is greater towards 
God, so the danger is greater towards men. Atheism 
leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety a , to 
laws, to reputation : all which may be guides to an outward 
moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition 
dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in 
the minds of men. Therefore atheism did never perturb 10 
states ; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking 
no further; and we see the times inclined to atheism (as 
the time of Augustus Caesar) were civil times b ; but su 
perstition hath been the confusion of many states, and 
bringeth in a new primum mobile that ravisheth all the 
spheres of government. The master of superstition is the 
people ; and in all superstition wise men follow fools ; and 
arguments are fitted to practice in a reversed order. It 
was gravely said by some of the prelates in the Council of 
Trent, where the doctrine of the schoolmen bare great 20 
sway, that the schoolmen were like astronomers, which did 
feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such engines of orbs to save 
the phenomena, though they knew there were no such things ; 
and, in like manner, that the schoolmen had framed a 
number of subtile and intricate axioms and theorems, to 
save the practice of the Church. The causes of super 
stition are, pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies ; 

* natural piety] i. e. natural affection c arguments are fitted to practice &c.] 
and regard to natural ties. A sense The meaning of this compressed re 
covered more usually by the Latin mark is that, whereas arguments ought 
pietas than by the English. rightly to come before and to guide 

b civil times] i. e. marked by conduct practice, in the case supposed the un 
befitting cives, civilized, orderly. Lat. guided practice comes first, and is 
tranquilla. Conf. ' Ireland is the last maintained afterwards by such argu- 
ex filiis Europae which hath been re- ments as can be found or invented to 
claimed . . . from savage and barbarous fit it : the wise men thus accepting the 
customs to humanity and civility.' position of champions in the cause of 
Letters and Life, vi. 205. the fools. 


excess of outward and pharisaical holiness ; overgreat re 
verence of traditions, which cannot but load d the Church ; 
the stratagems of prelates for their own ambition and 
lucre ; the favouring too much of good intentions, which 
openeth the gate to conceits and novelties ; the taking an 
aim at divine matters by human, which cannot but breed 
mixture of imaginations : and, lastly, barbarous times, espe 
cially joined with calamities and disasters. Superstition, 
without a veil, is a deformed thing; for as it addeth de- 
10 formity to an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of 
superstition to religion makes it the more deformed : and 
as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms, so good 
forms and orders corrupt into a number of petty observ 
ances. There is a superstition in avoiding superstition, 
when men think to do best if they go furthest from the 
superstition formerly received ; therefore care would be 
had 6 that (as it fareth in ill purgings) the good be not 
taken away with the bad, which commonly is done when 
the people is the reformer. 


P. 120, 1. i. It were better &c.] Conf. Bacon's Letter to Mr. 
Matthew : ' And I entreat you much sometimes to meditate upon the 

extreme effects of superstition in this last Powder Treason ; 

well justifying the censure of the heathen, that superstition is far 
worse than atheism ; by how much it is less evil to have no opinion 
of God at all, than such as is impious towards his divine majesty 
and goodness.' Letters and Life, iv. p. 10. 

1. 4. the reproach of the Deity] Conf. ' Superstitio error insanus est : 
amandos timet ; quos colit violat. Quid enim interest utrum Deos 
neges an infames.' Seneca, Epist. 123. 

1. 4. Plutarch saith well] Conf. ' Shall he who thinketh that there 
be no Gods at all be taken for a profane person and excommunicate ? 
And shall not he who beleeveth them to be such as superstitious 
folke imagine them, be thought infected with more impious and 

d load] i. e. over-load, burden. Lat. e would be had] i.e. ought to be 

tion potest non onerare. had. Lat. curae esse debet. So passim. 


wicked opinions ? For mine own part, I would be better pleased 
and content if men should say of me thus : There neither is nor ever 
was in the world a man named Plutarch, than to give out of me and 
say : Plutarch is an unconstant man, variable, cholerick, full of 
revenge for the least occasion that is, or displeased or given to grieve 
for a small matter : who, if when you invite others to supper he be 
left out and not bidden, or if upon some businesse you be let and 
hindered so that you come not to his doore for to visit him, or other 
wise do not salute and speake unto him friendly, will be ready to eat 
your heart with salt, or set upon you with his fangs and bite you, 
will not stick to catch up one of your little babes and worry him, or 
will keep some mischievous wild beast of purpose to put into your 
corne-fields, your vineyards or orchards, for to devoure and spoile 
all your fruits.' Plutarch, Morals, p. 219. 

P. 121, 1. 3. as the poets speak of Saturn] 

1 Reddita Saturno sors haec erat ; Optime regum, 

A nato sceptris excutiere tuis. 
Ille suam metuens, ut quaeque erat edita, prolem 
Devorat, immersam visceribusque tenet.' 

Ovid, Fasti, iv. 197. 

1. 15. a new primum mobile] Vide note on Essay 15, p. 104. 

1. 18. // was gravely said &c.] This is not quite so. The facts, as 
narrated by Father Paul Sarpi, are that certain decrees had been put 
forth by the Council, involving abstruse and disputable views on divine 
influences as affecting the human will. These, which were received 
quietly in Rome, were freely discussed in Germany, where ' Fu da 
alcuni faceti detto, che si gli astrologi non sapendo le vere cause de' moti 
celesti, per salvare le apparenze hanno dato in eccentrici ed epicicli, 
non era maraviglia se volendo salvare le apparenze de' moti sopra- 
celesti, si dava in eccentricita di opinioni.' Vide Istoria del Concilio Tri- 
dentino, lib. ii. cap. 83 (vol. ii. p. 326 in the Mendrisio edition of 1835). 

The sense of the remark seems to be that, since astronomers had 
fallen upon the invention of eccentrics and epicycles to explain 
celestial phenomena which they had seen, it was no surprise that 
divines, dealing in the dark with unseen supercelestial subjects, 
should be betrayed into eccentricities of another sort. The humour 
lies in the use of eccentric in its special astronomical sense, and then 
in its ordinary sense. But it was said not gravely, but ' da alcuni 
faceti,' not by some of the prelates in the Council, but by outsiders at 
a distance, and it made no mention of the schoolmen, and had no 
reference to anything that touched upon the practice of the Church. 

1. 22. eccentrics and epicycles] These belong to, or rather were 
adapted into, the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, founded by 
Ptolemy of Alexandria, in the first half of the second century. The 
first thing to be explained was the apparent diurnal movement of the 


sun and of the other heavenly bodies around the earth. That they 
moved in circles was an accepted tradition. But, if so, it was clear 
that the earth was not the exact centre about which they moved. 
The centre of their circles was assumed, therefore, to be fixed at a 
point outside the earth, so that the circles were thus 'eccentrics.' 
Then came a further difficulty. The planets did not keep close to 
the imaginary paths assigned to them, but had, each of them, real 
independent movements of their own. These movements were 
explained by the further theory that each planet, during its great 
daily circular course round the earth, was also moving in a smaller 
circle, the centre of which was placed in the circumference of the 
great circle ; the great circle being itself considered to move, and to 
carry the appended lesser circle round with it. These smaller 
circles were thus circles upon a circle, or ' epicycles,' and by the help 
of these the whole observed phenomena, thus far, were taken in and 
accounted for, in other words, were 'saved.' The theory is fully 
explained in the Encyclopedic Dictionnaire, sub voc. Excentrique and 

1. 22. engines of orbs] Lat. ' orbium machinas.' These words, 
followed, a little further on, by ' though they knew there were no such 
things,' would seem to imply that in Bacon's opinion the eccentrics 
and epicycles and all else were put forward by the astronomers as 
actual entities, and that the main objection to them was that they did 
not really exist, as the astronomers well knew. But conf. ' Neque 
illis qui ista proponunt admodum placet haec quae adducunt prorsus 
vera esse, sed tantummodo ad computationes et tabulas conficiendas 
commode supposita.' Works, iii. 735. 

1. 22. to save the phenomena} i. e. so fully to account for all the 
phenomena that none of them had to be rejected or left out of 
account as irreconcilable with the theory. The phrase here follows 
Sarpi's ' per salvare le apparenze,' as Milton's use of the equivalent 
' to save appearances ' probably does (Par. Lost, viii. 82). It is 
(as Dr. Abbott, following Professor Mayor, points out) more than 
two thousand years old, being cited by Plutarch (ii. 932 a] from 
Cleanthes, who held that the Greeks ought to impeach the Samian 
Aristarchus for impiety, as shifting the hearth of the world, because 
in his efforts o-w^u/ rot (fraivoufva (' a sauver les apparences,' Amyot) 
he assumed the fixity of the heavens and the double movement of 
the earth. 

Bacon's own views on astronomy, inclining more to the Ptolemaic 
than to the Copernican system, will be found at length in his 
Descriptio Globi Intellectualis and Thema Coeli. Works, iii. 725 
et seq. 'They are,' says Mr. Spedding, in his learned preface to the 
Tracts, ' in truth views which it was natural for a man not well versed 
in the phenomena of the science to entertain and to promulgate.' 


P. 122, 1. 5. taking an aim] A matter of frequent censure with 
Bacon. Conf. e. g. ' Sacred Theology (which in our idiom we call 
Divinity) is grounded only upon the word and oracle of God, and 
not upon the light of nature.' Works, iii. 478. 

1. 9. as it addeth deformity &c.] Montaigne notes the likeness 
and insists on the deformity, but it pleases him to point his remark 
against the man rather than against the ape. Conf. ' Celles qui nous 
retirent le plus, ce sont les plus laides et les plus abjectes de toute la 
bande : car, pour 1'apparence exterieure et forme de visage, ce sont 
les magots : Simia quam similis, turpissima bestia, nobis : pour le 
dedans et parties vitales, c'est le porceau.' Essais, lib. ii. chap. 12 
(vol. ii. p. 202 in ed. 1802, Paris). 


TRAVEL, in the younger sort, is a part of education ; in 
the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into 
a country before he hath some entrance into the language, 
goeth to school, and not to travel. That young men travel 
under some tutor or grave servant, I allow well a ; so that 
he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in 
the country before ; whereby he may be able to tell them 
what things are worthy to be seen in the country where 
they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what ex 
ercises or discipline the place yieldeth b ; for else young 10 
men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a 
strange thing, that in sea voyages, where there is nothing 
to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries ; but 
in land travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for 

* I allow uiell~\ i. e. I approve. Lat. their corrupt principles may despise 

probo. Conf. ' This hope hath helped it, yet it will receive an open allow- 

me to end this book : which if he ance.' Works, iii. 279. 
allow I shall think my labour well im- b yieldeth'] i. e. produceth. Lat. quae 

ployed.' Preface to Ascham's Schole- denique studio, et disciplinae ibi vi- 

master. And ' Many in the depths of geant. 


the most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter to 
be registered than observation : let diaries, therefore, be 
brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are, 
the courts of princes, especially when they give audience 
to ambassadors ; the courts of justice, while they sit and 
hear causes ; and so of consistories c ecclesiastic ; the 
churches and monasteries, with the monuments which 
are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities 
and towns ; and so the havens and harbours ; antiquities 

io and ruins ; libraries ; colleges, disputations, and lectures, 
where any are ; shipping and navies ; houses and gardens 
of state and pleasure, near great cities ; armories, arsenals, 
magazines, exchanges, burses d , warehouses, exercises of 
horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like : 
comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do 
resort ; treasuries of jewels and robes ; cabinets and 
rarities ; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in 
the places where they go; after all which the tutors or 
servants ought to make diligent inquiry. As for triumphs e , 

20 masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and 
such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them : 
yet are they not to be neglected. If you will have 

c consistories] The name is used, Thomas Greshamus ... in mercatorum 

specially, of the Pope's Consistory or usum exstruxerat, invisit et Excambium 

Council of the Pope and Cardinals, and Regium . . . nominavit.' Camden, An- 

of the authorized assemblies of the nals of Elizabeth's reign, in ann. 1571. 

French Protestants and of the German In Stow's Annals (in ann. 1571) 

Lutherans ; and, generally, of any the building is termed ' a Burse, or 

assembly of ecclesiastical persons. fair place for the assembly of mer- 

' Consistorium postmodo etiam appel- chants, like that of Antwerp.' Lom- 

laverunt consessum Episcoporum aut bard Street, he says, was the old place 

Presbyterorum qui pro emergente qua- of assembly, until the new building 

piam inopinata difficultate congrega- was opened, ; and then the merchants 

bantur.' Ducange, Gloss, sub voce. held their meetings at this Burse, for 

Bacon probably uses the word of any it was generally so called, until the 

ecclesiastical assemblies. Queen came thither.' 

d burses'] This word seems to mean e triumphs'] i.e. shows, of some 

the same as ' exchanges.' Conf. splendour. Conf. Essay 37 on Masques 

' Primo anni mense Elizabetha, regia and Triumphs. ' O thou art a per- 

pompa Londinum ingressa, peristylium petual triumph, an everlasting bonfire 

pulcherrimum ^Bursam vocant) quod light.' i Henry IV, iii. sc. 3. 


a young man to put his travel into a little room f , and in 
short time to gather much, this you must do : first, as 
was said, he must have some entrance into the language 
before he goeth ; then he must have such a servant or 
tutor as knoweth the country, as was likewise said : let 
him carry with him also some card 8 or book describing 
the country where he travelleth, which will be a good key 
to his inquiry; let him keep also a diary; let him not stay 
long in one city or town, more or less as the place de- 
serveth, but not long ; nay, when he stayeth in one city 10 
or town, let him change his lodging from one end and 
part of the town to another, which is a great adamant h of 
acquaintance ; let him sequester himself from the company 
of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is 
good company of the nation where he travelleth : let him, 
upon his removes from one place to another, procure re 
commendation to some person of quality residing in the 
place whither he removeth, that he may use his favour in 
those things he desireth to see or know; thus he may 
abridge his travel with much profit. As for the acquaint- 20 
ance which is to be sought in travel, that which is most 
of all profitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and 
employed men of ambassadors ; for so in travelling in one 
country he shall suck the experience of many: let him 
also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds, which are 
of great name abroad, that he may be able to tell how the 

1 put his travel into a little room] h adamant] i. e. load-stone. Conf. 

Lat. fructum peregrinationis in cow- ' There was an assured guide provided 

pendium redigere. for such as travel that way : that is, 

* card] i. e. chart. Lat. chartam the compasse to sail by, and the vertue 

chorographicam. Conf. ' That one may of the Adamant stone.' Acosta, Hist, 

know, as a shipmaster by his card, of East and West Indies (trans, 

how far we are wide on the one side by E. G. 1604), Bk. i. cap. 17. The 

or on the other.' Hooker, Sermon 4. Latin brings out the simile more 

And ' That law which hath been the clearly than the English hoc certe 

pattern to make, and is the card to magnes est aitrahendi familiaritates 

guide the world by.' Eccl. Pol. i. cap. et consuetudines hominum complu- 

2, sec. 5. rium. 


life agreeth with the fame; for quarrels, they are with 
care and discretion to be avoided ; they are commonly for 
mistresses, healths *, place, and words ; and let a man be 
ware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrel 
some persons; for they will engage him into their own 
quarrels. When a traveller returneth home, let him not 
leave the countries where he hath travelled altogether 
behind him, but maintain a correspondence by letters 
with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth ; 
10 and let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in 
his apparel or gesture; and in his discourse let him be 
rather advised k in his answers, than forwards to tell 
stories: and let it appear that he doth not change his 
country manners for those of foreign parts; but only 
prick in l some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into 
the customs of his own country. / 


The line of advice, in much of this Essay, is not unlike that in 
' Advice to the Earl of Rutland on his Travels,' Letters ii. and iii., 
which Mr. Spedding sets down, with some hesitation, as not im 
probably from Bacon's pen, at least in the original draft. Letters 
and Life, ii. pp. 3-20. 

P. 128, 1. 10. let his travel appear rather &c.] On this advice and on 
the occasion for it, conf. Overbury's Characters, under the heading 
' An Affected Traveller.' ' His attire speaks French or Italian, and his 
gate says Behold me. He censures all things by countenances and 
shruggs, and speaks his own language with shame and lisping.' And 
' Farewell, Monsieur Traveller : look you lisp and wear strange suits, 

1 healths] Lat. compotationes. The Of healths five-fathom deep.' 

meaning probably is that deep drinking Romeo and Juliet, i. sc. 4. 

bouts are common occasions of quar- k advtsed] i. e. deliberate. Lat. 

rels. For sense of the word, conf. meditetur quidsobrie respondeat. Conf. 

' As if one should, in forbearing wine, ' Judges . . . ought to be more advised 

come from drinking healths to a than confident.' Essay 56, where the 

draught at a meal.' Essay 38. Latin gives deliberativum quam confi- 


' And then dreams he of cutting J prick in] i. e. plant in. Conf. 

foreign throats, ' Part of which heaps to be with 

Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish standards of little bushes pricked upon 

blades. their top.' Essay 46. 



disable all the benefits of your own country, be out of love with 
your nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance 
you are : or I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola.' As 
You Like It, act iv. sc. i. 

' Report of fashions in proud Italy ; 
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation 
Limps after in base imitation.' 

King Richard II, act ii. sc. i. 

' Heare what the Italian sayth of the English Man, what the master 
reporteth of the scholer ; who uttereth playnlie, what is taught by 
him, and what learned by you, saying, Englese Italianato e un diabolo 
incarnate ... If some do not well understand what is an English man 
Italianated, I will plainlie tell him. He that by living and travelling 
in Italic, bringeth home into England out of Italic the Religion, the 
learning, the policie, the experience, the manners of Italic. That is 
to say, for Religion, Papistrie or worse : for learnyng, less commonly 
than they carried out with them ; for pollicie, a factious hart, a dis 
coursing head, a mynde to medle in all men's matters ; for ex 
perience, plentie of new mischieves never knowne in England 
before : for maners, varietie of vanities and chaunge of filthy lyving. 
These be the inchantementes of Circes, brought out of Italic, to 
marre mens manners in England.' Ascham's Scholemaster, bk. i. 
The latter part of this book is almost entirely on the same 

Bishop Hall, in his Quo vadis ? writes no less strongly against 
all foreign travel, as useless and probably mischievous. 



IT is a miserable state of mind to have few things to 
desire and many things to fear ; and yet that commonly is 
the case of Kings who being at the highest, want matter 
of desire, which makes their minds more languishing ; and 
have many representations of perils and shadows, which 
makes their minds the less clear : and this is one reason 
also of that effect which the Scripture speaketh of, That 
the king's heart is inscrutable ; for multitude of jealousies, 



and lack of some predominant desire that should marshal 
and put in order all the rest, maketh any man's heart 
hard to find or sound. Hence it comes likewise that 
princes many times make themselves desires, and set their 
hearts upon toys ; sometimes upon a building ; some 
times upon erecting of an order*; sometimes upon the 
advancing of a person ; sometimes upon obtaining ex 
cellency in some art, or feat of the hand ; as Nero for 
playing on the harp ; Domitian for certainty of the hand 

10 with the arrow ; Commodus for playing at fence ; Cara- 
calla for driving chariots, and the like. This seemeth 
incredible unto those that know not the principle that the 
mind of man is more cheered and refreshed by profiting in 
small things than by standing at a stay in great. We see 
also that Kings that have been fortunate conquerors 
in their first years, it being not possible for them to go 
forward infinitely, but that they must have some check 
or arrest in their fortunes, turn in their latter years to 
be superstitious and melancholy; as did Alexander the 

20, Great, Dioclesian, and in our memory, Charles the Fifth, 
and others ; for he that is used to go forward, and findeth 
a stop, falleth out of his own favour and is not the thing 
he was. 

To speak now of the true temper of empire b : it is a 

* erecting of an order] Lat. ad or- was significantly expressed by the 

dinem aliquem aut collegium institu- judgment which Apollonius made of 

endum. Nero, which was thus : ' When Ves- 

b true temper of empire} The text, pasian came out of Judea ... he spake 

here, is obscure from too much com- with Apollonius . . . and asked him a 

pression. Bacon, speaking in the question of state : What was Nero's 

House of Commons, refers to the story fall or overthrow ? Apollonius an- 

about Vespasian in words which will swered again, Nero could tune the harp 

explain what he means here. Divus well: but in government he always either 

Nerva res olim dissociabiles miscuit, Im- wound up the pins too high and strained 

perium etlibertatem. Nerva did temper the strings too far, or let them down too 

things that before were thought in- low, and slackened the strings too much. 

compatible or insociable, Sovereignty Here we see the difference between 

and Liberty. And it is not amiss in a regular and able princes and irregular 

great council and a great cause to put and incapable, Nerva and Nero. The 

the other part of the difference which one tempers and mingles the sove- 


thing rare and hard to keep ; for both temper and dis 
temper consist of contraries ; but it is one thing to mingle 
contraries, another to interchange them. The answer 
of Apollonius to Vespasian is full of excellent instruction. 
Vespasian asked him, What was Nero's overthrow ? he 
answered, Nero could touch and tune the harp well ; but 
in government sometimes he used to wind the pins too high, 
sometimes to let them down too low. And certain it is, that 
nothing destroyeth authority so much as the unequal and 
untimely interchange of power pressed too far, and re- i 
laxed too much. 

This is true, that the wisdom of all these latter times in 
princes' affairs is rather fine deliveries, and shiftings 
of dangers and mischiefs, when they are near, than solid 
and grounded courses to keep them aloof: but this is 
but to . try masteries with c fortune ; and let men beware 
how they neglect and suffer matter of trouble to be pre 
pared : for no man can forbid the spark, nor tell whence 
it may come. The difficulties in princes' business are 
many and great ; but the greatest difficulty is often in 30 
their own mind. For it is common with princes (saith 
Tacitus) to will contradictories ; Sunt plerumque regum 

reignty with the liberty of the subject 
wisely : and the other doth inter 
change it and vary it unequally and 
absurdly.' Letters and Life, iv. 


It appears then that ' the true 
temper of empire ' is the state of 
things which exists when the two 
contraries, sovereignty and liberty, 
are mingled in fit proportions. ' Dis 
temper' is when the two are inter 
changed or alternated. That temper 
and distemper ' consist of contraries ' 
is said, not very precisely, because 
they are caused respectively by the 
mingling and by the alternating of 
two contrary extremes. 

The story of Vespasian and Apol 
lonius rests on the authority, such as 

it is, of Philostratus : ri ffoi, (<prj, Nt/xu- 
vos px^ efyaivfTO ; ai 6 "AiroAA.wj'ios 
Nepcuv, tfire, KiOapav fj.\v ifftus jySft d/>juor- 
rfffdat, rty 8% apxty rja\vv(v aveaei KOI 
(Trirdaet. Philostratus, Vita Apollonii, 
lib. v. cap. 10. 

c to try masteries with} i.e. to measure 
strength with. Lat. in agone cumfor- 
tuna experiri. Mastery is sometimes 
used for eminence in strength or skill ; 
sometimes for the result of such emin 
ence, viz. victory in a contest. Conf. 
4 So shall nature be cherished, and yet 
taught masteries.' Lat. et robur ac- 
quiret. Essay 30. 

And 'And if a man also strive for 
masteries (lav SI nal dO\rj ris),yetis he 
not crowned, except he strive lawfully.' 
II Tim. ii. 5. 

K 2 


voluntates vehementes, et inter se contrariae ; for it is the 
solecism d of power to think to command the end, and yet 
not to endure the mean 8 . 

Kings have to deal with their neighbours, their wives, 
their children, their prelates or clergy, their nobles, their 
second-nobles or gentlemen, their merchants, their com 
mons, and their men of war; and from all these arise 
dangers, if care and circumspection be not used. 
First for their neighbours ; there can no general rule be 

10 given (the occasions are so variable), save one which ever 
holdeth ; which is, that princes do keep due sentinel that 
none of their neighbours do overgrow so (by increase of 
territory, by embracing of trade, by approaches f , or the 
like), as they become more able to annoy them than 
they were ; and this is generally the work of standing 
counsels to foresee and to hinder it. During that trium 
virate of kings, King Henry the Eighth of England, 
Francis the First, King of France, and Charles the Fifth, 
Emperor, there was such a watch kept that none of the 

20 three could win a palm of ground but the other two 
would straightways balance it, either by confederation, 
or, if need were, by a war ; and would not in anywise take 
up peace at interest g : and the like was done by that 
league (which Guicciardini saith was the security of Italy), 
made between Ferdinando, King of Naples, Lorenzius 
Medici, and Ludovicus Sforza, potentates, the one of 

d solecism} Properly an ungramma- Military affairs relating to the Roman 

tical sentence ; hence sometimes used History, pp. 38 and 39, appended to 

for a mistake of any kind. Conf. Sir Henry Savile's translation of 

' Sylla, resigning the State and his Tacitus, Histories, ed. 1698. 

Guard both at once, however he is e the mean] i. e. the means. Fre- 

charged by Caesar nescire literas, may quent throughout the Essays, 

seem to have followed a better gram- ' by embracing of trade, by approaches} 

mar than Caesar himself, who dis- Lat. vel commercium ad se trahendo, vel 

missing his Guard and not his Govern- propius accedendo. 

ment, committed a notable and dan- * take up peace at interest] i. e. ac- 

gerous solecism in matter of State, and cept a present peace, for which they 

opened the way to his own destruc- would have to pay heavily in the 

tion.' Sir Henry Savile, A View of end. 


Florence, the other of Milan. Neither is the opinion of 
some of the schoolmen to be received, that a war cannot 
justly be made but upon a precedent injury or provocation ; 
for there is no question but a just fear of an imminent 
danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause 
of a war. 

For their wives, there are cruel examples of them. Livia 
is infamed for the poisoning of her husband ; Roxolana, 
Solyman's wife, was the destruction of that renowned 
prince Sultan Mustapha, and otherwise troubled his 10 
house and succession; Edward the Second of England 
his Queen had the principal hand in the deposing and 
murder of her husband. This kind of danger is then 
to be feared chiefly when the wives have plots for the 
raising of their own children, or else that they be ad- 

For their children, the tragedies likewise of dangers 
from them have been many; and generally the entering 
of fathers into suspicion of their children hath been ever 
unfortunate. The destruction of Mustapha (that we 20 
named before) was so fatal to Solyman's line, as the 
succession of the Turks from Solyman until this day is 
suspected to be untrue and of strange blood; for that 
Selymus the Second was thought to be supposititious. 
The destruction of Crispus, a young prince of rare 
towardness, by Constantinus the Great his father, was 
in like manner fatal to his house ; for both Constantinus 
and Constance, his sons, died violent deaths; and Con- 
stantius, his other son, did little better, who died indeed 
of sickness, but after that Julianus had taken arms against 3 
him. The destruction of Demetrius, son to Philip the 
Second of Macedon, turned upon the father, who died 
of repentance. And many like examples there are ; but 
few or none where the fathers had good by such dis 
trust, except it were where the sons were up in open 

i 3 4 ESSAY XIX. 

arms against them ; as was Selymus the First against 
Bajazet, and the three sons of Henry the Second, King 
of England. 

For their prelates ; when they are proud and great 
there is also danger from them ; as it was in the times 
of Anselmus and Thomas Becket, Archbishops of Can 
terbury, who with their crosiers did almost try it with 
the King's sword ; and yet they had to deal with stout 
and haughty Kings ; William Rufus, Henry the First, 

10 and Henry the Second. The danger is not from that 
state, but where it hath a dependence of h foreign au 
thority ; or where the churchmen come in and are elected, 
not by the collation of the King or particular patrons, 
but by the people. 

For their nobles ; to keep them at a distance it is not 
amiss ; but to depress them may make a King more 
absolute, but less safe, and less able to perform any 
thing that he desires. I have noted it in my History 
of King Henry the Seventh of England, who depressed 

20 his nobility ; whereupon it came to pass that his times 
were full of difficulties and troubles; for the nobility, 
though they continued loyal unto him, yet did they not 
co-operate with him in his business ; so that in effect 
he was fain to do all things himself. 

For their second 1 nobles; there is not much danger 
from them, being a body dispersed : they may sometimes 
discourse high, but that doth little hurt : besides, they 
are a counterpoise to the higher nobility, that they grow 
not too potent ; and, lastly, being the most immediate 

30 in authority with the common people, they do best temper 
popular commotions. 

For their merchants ; they are vena porta ; and if they 

h hath a dependence of] i. e. can, as ' second] i. e. inferior. Conf. ' Those 

subject, look to receive support from. that are seconds in factions do many 

Lat. ab auctoritate et jurisdictions prin- times, when the faction subdivideth, 

cipatus externi pendet. prove principals.' Essay 51. 


flourish not, a kingdom may have good limbs, but will 
have empty veins, and nourish little k . Taxes and imposts 
upon them do seldom good to the King's revenue, for 
that which he wins in the hundred, he loseth in the shire ; 
the particular rates being increased, but the total bulk of 
trading rather decreased. 

For their commons ; there is little danger from them, 
except it be where they have great and potent heads; 
or where you meddle with the point of religion, or their 
customs, or means of life. 10 

For their men of war ; it is a dangerous state where 
they live and remain in a body and are used to donatives ; 
whereof we see examples in the Janizaries and Praetorian 
bands of Rome ; but trainings of men, and arming them 
in several 1 places, and under several commanders, and 
without donatives, are things of defence and no danger. 

Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which cause good 
or evil times ; and which have much veneration, but 
no rest. All precepts concerning Kings are in effect 
comprehended in those two remembrances, Memento 20 
quod es homo and Memento quod es Deus, or vice Dei ; 
the one bridleth their power, and the other their will. 


P. 129, 1. 5. representations of perils and shadows} Bacon notes this 
several times in his Life of Henry VII. ' Partly through natural valour, 
and partly through an universal suspicion (not knowing whom to 
trust) he was ever ready to wait upon all his achievements in person.' 
Works, vi. 49. 

' He was possessed with many secret fears touching his own 

k will nourish little} Lat. poiest ha- several and to be distinguished.' Es- 

bere habitum carports macrum. For say 6. 

this neuter use of ' nourish,' conf. ' The And, ' Two notable thieves . . . were 
coldness of the ground, whereby the hanged the last week on several gib- 
plants nourish less.' Works, ii. 511. bets, Courtney within the city and the 

1 several] i. e. separate. Lat. in locis other without.' Chamberlain to Car- 

diversis. Conf. ' habits and faculties leton, March 25, 1612. 


people.' p. 67. 'A dark prince and infinitely suspicious.' p. 242. 
' He was indeed full of apprehensions and suspicions. But as he 
did easily take them, so he did easily check them and master them ; 
whereby they were not dangerous, but troubled himself more than 
others.' p. 243. 

1. 7. the Scripture] Prov. xxv. 3. 

P. 130, 1. 8. Nero] Conf. 'Inter ceteras disciplinas pueritiae tempore 
imbutus et musica, statim ut imperium adeptus est Therpnum citha- 
roedum, vigentem tune praeter alios, arcessit : diebusque continuis 
post coenam canenti in multam noctem assidens, paulatim et ipse 
meditari exercerique coepit : nee eorum quidquam omittere quae 
generis ejus artifices, vel conservandae vocis causa vel augendae, 
factitarent.' Suetonius, lib. vi. cap. 20. Much more follows to the 
same effect. 

' Primo carmen in scena recitat : mox flagitante vulgo ut omnia 
studia sua publicaret .... ingreditur theatrum, cunctis citharae 
legibus obtemperans .... Postremo flexus genu, et coetum ilium 
manu veneratus, sententias judicum opperiebatur ficto pavore.' 
Tacitus, Ann. xvi. 4. 

But this love of music is only one of the many unprincely 
weaknesses which Tacitus ascribes to Nero. 

1. 9. Domitiari] Conf. ' Armorum nullo, sagittarum vel praecipuo 
studio tenebatur. Centenas varii generis feras saepe in Albano 
secessu conficientem spectavere plerique : atque etiam ex industria 
ita quarumdam capita figentem ut duobus ictibus quasi cornua 
efficeret. Nonnumquam in pueri procul stantis, praebentisque pro 
scopulo dispansam dextrae manus palmam, sagittas tanta arte direxit 
ut omnes per intervalla digitorum innocue evaderent.' Suetonius, 
lib. viii. cap. 19. 

1. 10. Commodus] Conf. ' Inter haec refertur in literas pugnasse 
ilium sub patre trecenties sexagies quinquies : item postea tantum 
palmarum gladiatoriarum confecisse, vel victis retiariis vel occisis, ut 
mille contingeret. Ferarum autem diversarum manu sua occidit 
multa milia.' Aelius Lampridius, Sylburgius, Script. Lat. Minores, 
vol. ii. p. 160, 37 (ed. 1588). 

1. IO. Caracal/a &C.] Conf. 'Hpuar^Xdrfi re TTJ ovevert'w (rro\fj xptapevos. 
.... ' AytovodfTTiv 8e f) TO>I> e > eXet>$epco TWO. fj ra>v aXXa)i> TU>V 
6tfV) Iva KOI ev TOVTCO di/aXicrKqrai. TlpocreKvvti re avrovs Karatdev TTJ 
Kai xpuuoC? axnrfp TIS TO>V TanfivoTaTav yTfi, Kai e'Xe-ye Kara TOV rjXtov rfj 
app,aTr}\acria xpf)(T0ai ) Kai fafpvvvfro eV avrfj. Dion CassiuS, Ixxvii. 

sec. 10. 

e fTrf]yye\\e jj.fv, a>s Kai fiera TTJV ea> avriKa SIKQCTCOI', 17 KOL aXXo TI 
d<av' iraperfivf 8e fjpas Kai vnep rr]v /Lteo'7/z/3pi'ai', Kai TroXXaxts *cal 

r 'Ev fie TOUTO) ra re aXXa f(pi\onpayfj,6vei } &><rntp emov, 

Kai app.ara fj\avve Kat p.era TOVTO evriv ore Kai e'Suafe. Sec. 17* 


1.19. Alexander the Great} Conf. 'Yet had he many other ill 
signes and tokens one upon another, that made him affraid. For 
there was a tame asse that killed one of the greatest and goodliest 
Lions in all Babylon, with one of his feet. Another time when 
Alexander had put off his clothes, to be nointed to play at tennis : 
when he should put on his apparell againe, the yong gentleman that 
played with him, found a man set in his chaire of estate, having the 
king's diademe on his head, and his gowne on his back, and said 
never a word. Then they asked him what he was. It was long 
before he made them answer, but at the length comming to himselfe, 
he said his name was Dionysius, borne in Messina : and being 
accused for certain crimes committed, he was sent from the sea 
thither, where he had been a long time prisoner, and also that the 
god Serapis had appeared unto him, and undone his irons, and that 
he commanded him to take the king's gowne, and his diademe, and 
to sit him downe in his chaire of estate, and say never a word. 
When Alexander heard it, he put him to death according to the 
Counsell of his Soothsayers : but then his mind was troubled, and 
feared that the gods had forsaken him, and also grew to suspect his 

friends Now after that Alexander had left his trust and 

confidence in the gods, his mind was so troubled and affraid, that no 
strange thing happened unto him (how little soever it was) but he 
tooke it straight for a signe and prediction from the gods : so that his 
tent was alwaies full of Priests and Soothsayers that did nothing but 
sacrifice and purifie, and tend unto divinements. So horrible a thing 
is the mistrust and contempt of the gods, when it is begotten in the 
hearts of men, and superstition also so dreadfull, that it filleth the 
guiltie consciences and fearfull hearts like water distilling from 
above : as at that time it filled Alexander with all follie, after that 
feare had once possessed him.' Plutarch, Lives, North's trans. 709, 

It is reported that King Alexander the Great, hearing Anaxarchus 
the philosopher discoursing and maintaining this position, 'That 
there were worlds innumerable, fell a weeping : and when his 
friends and familiars about him asked what he ailed, " have I not " 
(quoth he) "good cause to weep, that being as there are an infinite 
number of worlds, I am not yet the Lord of one." ' Plutarch, 
Morals, of tranquillity and contentment of mind, p. 121. This story, 
so foolish that Plutarch does not venture to vouch for it, certainly 
came within the range of Bacon's reading, and may have served 
him as a proof of the melancholy to which Alexander turned, finding 
that it was not possible for him to go forward infinitely &c. 

1. 20. Diocletian] There is no proof that Diocletian in his latter 
years turned to be either superstitious or melancholy. His reign, 
says Gibbon, ' had flowed with a tide of uninterrupted success ; nor 


was it till after he had vanquished all his enemies, and accomplished 
all his designs, that he seems to have entertained any serious 
thoughts of resigning the empire.' At last, under the pressure of 
sickness, ' he resolved to pass the remainder of his days in honour 
able repose, to place his glory beyond the reach of fortune, and to 
relinquish the theatre of the world to his younger and more active 
associates.' Decline and Fall, chap. xiii. 

' The parallel of Charles the fifth,' Gibbon remarks, ' will naturally 
offer itself to our mind.' It would seem that to Bacon's mind the 
mention of Charles the Fifth had suggested the parallel of Diocletian, 
whose name does not occur in the Essay ' Of Empire ' in the edition 
of 1612. Both emperors abdicated, but ' the abdication of Charles,' 
says Gibbon, ' appears to have been hastened by the vicissitudes of 
fortune ; and the disappointment of his favourite schemes urged him 
to relinquish a power which he found inadequate to his ambition.' 

P. 131, 1. 13. fine deliveries] Bacon remarks this of King Henry VII. 
' His wisdom, by often evading from perils, was turned rather into a 
dexterity to deliver himself from dangers when they pressed him, 
than into a providence to prevent and remove them afar off. And, 
even in nature, the sight of his mind was like some sights of eyes ; 
rather strong at hand than to carry afar off. For his wit increased 
upon the occasion ; and so much the more if the occasion were 
sharpened by danger.' Works, vi. 244. 

1. 21. For it is common with princes, saith Tacitus'] This sentence, 
or rather one resembling it, occurs not in Tacitus but in Sallust's 
Bellum Jugurthinum, cap. 113 (in the Delphin ed.) : ' Sed plerumque 
regiae voluntates ut vehementes, sic mobiles, saepe ipsae sibi 
adversae.' The passage is quoted correctly and as from Sallust in 
the Advancement of Learning. Works, iii. 436. 

P. 132, 1. 16. During that triumvirate &c.] This is substantially the 
same as a passage in ' Considerations touching a war with Spain.' 
Letters and Life, vii. 477. 

Of the mischief and misery caused by the jealousies and ambitions 
and aimless quarrels of this ' triumvirate,' and especially of Francis 
and Charles, Bacon says nothing. They would have pointed a moral 
very different from his. 

1. 23. that league, which Guicciardini saith &c.] Guicciardini, after 
stating at length the relations and aims of the different states of 
Italy about the middle of the fifteenth century, sums up : ' Essendo 
adunque in Ferdinando, Lodivico, e Lorenzo, parte per i medesimi 
parte per i diversi rispetti, la medesima intenzione alia pace, si 
continuava facilmente una confederazione contratta in nome di 
Ferdinando Re di Napoli, di Giovan Galeazzo Duca di Milano, e 
della Repubblica Fiorentina, per difensione de' loro Stati .... avendo 
per fine principalmente di non lasciar diventare piu potenti i 


Veneziani Tale era lo stato delle cose, tali erano i fondamenti 

della tranquillita d' Italia, disposti e contrappesati in modo che non 
solo di alterazione presente non si temeva, ma ne si poteva facil- 
mente congetturare di quali consigli, o per quali casi, o con quali armi 
si avesse a muovere tanta quiete.' Istoria d' Italia, vol. i. pp. 7, 8, 9. 

P. 133, 1. i. Neither is the opinion &c.] On this subject, of a just 
cause of war, Bacon speaks at greater length in his ' Considerations 
touching a war with Spain,' to the same effect as in the Essay, and 
with an express reference to the opinion of St. Thomas Aquinas : 
' Howsoever some schoolmen (otherwise reverend men, yet fitter to 
guide penknives than swords) seem precisely to stand upon it, that 
every offensive war must be ultio ; a revenge, that pre-supposeth a 
precedent assault or injury ; yet neither do they descend to this 
point (which we now handle) of a just fear; neither are they of 
authority to judge this question against all the precedents of time. 
For certainly, as long as men are men, .... and as long as reason is 

reason, a just fear will be a just cause of a preventive war 

St. Thomas in his own text, defining of the just causes of a war, doth 
leave it upon very general terms : Requiritur ad bellum causa justa, 
ut scilicet illi qui impugnantur, propter aliquam culpam impugnationem 
mereantur: for impugnatio culpae is a far more general word than 
ultio tnjuriae.' Letters and Life, vii. 477, 478. 

The above quotation from Aquinas is correct as far as it goes 
(Summa Theologiae, Secunda Secundae, Quaest. xl. Artie, i), but it 
is not correct to say that it ' doth leave it upon very general terms.' 
The words which follow define precisely what impugnatio culpae 
means : ' Unde Aug. dicit (in lib. 83 quaest.) justa bella solent 
diffiniri, quae ulciscuntur injurias, si gens vel civitas plectenda est 
quae vel vindicare neglexerit quod a suis improbe factum est, vel 
reddere quod per injuriam ablatum est.' These words, quoted with 
approval by Aquinas as explanatory of his own words, are fatal to 
the distinction which Bacon attempts to set up between impugnatio 
culpae and ultio injuriae. 

Albericus Gentilis approves ' defensive wars,' but so guardedly as to 
give no support to Bacon's extreme views : ' Utilem dico defensionem 
quum movemus nos bellum, verentes ne ipsi bello petamur .... 
Expectare non debemus praesentem vim si futurae occurrere tutius.' 
De Jure Belli, i. 14. 

He adds, however, on further discussion of the subject : ' Hominis 
autem vita non tarn iniquis neque tarn indomitis necessitatibus 
circumscripta est ut idcirco prior injuriam facere debeas, quam nisi 
feceris pati possis.' vii. cap. 3. 

His conclusion on the whole case is : ' Defensio justa est, quae 
praevenit pericula jam meditata, parata ; etiam et nee meditata at 
verisimilia, possibilia: neque tamen ultimum hoc simpliciter, aut 


dicerem justum dare operam bello huic statim atque aliquis fieret 
potens nimis. Quod non dico.' 

But there is higher authority yet. Bacon's fine contempt of 
' reverend men yet fitter to guide penknives than swords,' seems a 
little out of place when we find that it includes Grotius. Nothing 
could be more emphatic than the sentence passed by Grotius on 
Albericus Gentilis and a fortiori on Bacon. ' Causa justa belli sus- 
cipiendi nulla esse alia potest nisi injuria.' De Jure Belli et Pacis, 
ii. i. i. 

' Illud vero minime ferendum est quod quidam tradiderunt, jure 
gentium arma recte sumi ad imminuendam potentiam crescentem 
quae nimium aucta nocere posset . . . . Ut vim pati posse ad vim 
inferendam jus tribuat ab omni aequitatis ratione abhorret.' ii. i. 17. 

' Metum ergo ex vicina potentia non sufficere supra diximus. Ut 
enim justa sit defensio necessariam esse oportet, qualis non est nisi 
constet non tantum de potentia sed et de animo ; et quidem ita 
constet ut certum id sit ea certitudine quae in morali materia locum 
habet.' ii. 22. 5. 

This makes short work of Bacon's ' one rule which ever holdeth.' 
It is worth remark that the Essay in its latest and most truculent 
form was published in the same year, and about the same time, as 
the first edition of the De Jure Belli et Pacis. 

1. 7. Livia &c.] This Livia is the wife of Drusus, the son of the 
Emperor Tiberius. 'Hanc (Sejanus) ut amore incensus, adulterio 
pellexit ; et postquam primi flagitii potitus est (neque femina, amissa 
pudicitia, alia abnuerit) ad conjugii spem, consortium regni, et necem 
mariti impulit .... Sumitur in conscientiam Eudemus amicus ac 
medicus Liviae, specie artis frequens secretis.' Tacitus, Ann. iv. 3. 

According to Tacitus it was to Sejanus, and not to Livia, that the 
final guilt attached. ' Sejanus maturandum ratus deligit venenum 
quo paulatim irrepente fortuitus morbus assimilaretur. Id Druso 
datum per Lygdum spadonem, ut octo post annos cognitum est.' 
Cap. 8. 

Dion Cassius divides the guilt somewhat differently. He says of 

Sejanus, <&ap/^a/cdi/ TI aura) (SC. to Drusus) did re TCOI/ fv rfj dfpaTrelq airrov 
ovTdDv, Kat 8ia TTJS yvvaiKos avrov, i]V rives AioiuAXai/ ovo/xafouo-ii/, edante. Ivii. 

cap. 22. 

1. 8. Roxolana] ' This woman, late a slave, but now become the 
greatest Empresse of the East . . . wanted nothing she could wish but 
how to find means that the Turkish empire might after the death of 
Solyman be brought to some of her own sons. . . . Noble Mustapha, 
Solyman's eldest sonne and heire apparent of the Empire .... was 
the only cloud that kept the sunne from shining upon her : if he by 
any means might be taken away, then wanted nothing that she 
desired. Which to bring to pass, the wicked woman laboured 


cunningly by little and little to breed in Solyman's head no small 
suspition of Mustapha .... This mischievous plot, by her devised, 
was not a little furthered by Rustan the great Bassa . . . who nothing 
omitted that could be slily devised for the disgrace or confusion of 
the young Prince .... They so prevailed with the aged man, whom 
they never suffered to rest in quiet, that he at length resolved to 
worke his safety (as he supposed) by the death of his owne sonne.' 

The plot was successful. Mustapha was induced to come to his 
father's tent, and there, says Knolles, ' the butcherly Muts threw the 
poore innocent Prince upon the ground, and with the helpe of the 
Eunuches forcibly drawing the knotted bow-string both waies, by 
the commandment of a most wicked father strangled him.' Knolles, 
Hist, of the Turks, 759-763. 

1. 10. otherwise troubled &c.] i. e. by supporting Bajazet her younger 
son against his elder brother Selymus. ' Selymus the elder brother, 
most like unto his mother, was in the secret determination of the 
aged Emperor his father appointed heire of that most mighty empire. 
Bajazet, much resembling his father, was on the other side strongly 
supported by the care and entire love of his mother.' p. 768. The ac 
count follows of Bajazet's rebellions and final death by the bow-string. 

1. 24. Selymus the Second c.] ' So that now remained unto him only 
Selymus and Bajazet, both men growne and the sonnes of the same 
Roxolana, but so far differing the one from the other both in feature 
of body and disposition of mind as if they had not bin of the same 
kindred and line.' Knolles, Hist, of Turks, p. 767. ' In Selymus 
appeared no likenes of himself, but the express liniaments of his 
mother's face and body, a woman whilst she lived generally hated 
of all the people. He went heavily as overcharged with his greasie 
paunch, blub cheeked and exceeding red faced. . . . The soldiers 
began to ask among themselves, why his father should reject 
(Bajazet) him of such worth, the expresse image of himself, and 
prefer before him that gorbellied sluggard, in whom no spark of his 
father's valor was to be seen.' p. 775. 

Crispus was put to death by Constantine at the instigation of his 
stepmother Fausta, Constantine's second wife. Constantine the 
Second was killed in battle while he was invading his brother 
Constans' territory. Constans (whom Bacon calls Constance) was 
killed during a rebellion and mutiny of his own soldiers. Con- 
stantius died (A.D. 361) while he was on his march against Julian. 

1. 31. The destruction of Demetrius c.] Demetrius, son of Philip 
the Fifth of Macedon, was charged by his brother Perseus with 
treasonable relations with the Romans. ' I believe,' says Niebuhr, 
'that Demetrius without having any evil intention allowed himself 
to be gained over by the Romans to act against the interests of his 
father, and he seems actually to have become faithless in the execu- 


tion of his commission (as ambassador). It does not seem to me 
wrong that Perseus accused him, and that the father afterwards 
regarded him as a traitor. . . . Demetrius died, and the general 
opinion is that the father caused him to be poisoned.' Lectures on 
Ancient History, lecture ex. Livy insists strongly on his innocence. 
In mentioning the circumstances of his death, he says only that 
Philip ' mandata dedisse dicitur de filio occidendo.' Bk. xl. 24. He 
refers to it afterwards as a fact, and to repentance for it as a chief 
cause of Philip's death. ' Eodem anno (B.C. 179) Philippus rex Mace- 
donum, senio et maerore consumptus post mortem filii, decessit. 
Demetriade hibernabat, quum desiderio anxius filii, turn poenitentia 
crudelitalis suae . . .' Cap. 54. ' Quum Amphipolim venisset, gravi 
morbo est implicitus. Sed animo tamen aegrum magis fuisse quam 
corpore constat : curisque et vigiliis, quum identidem species et 
umbrae insontis interempti filii agitarent, extinctum esse cum diris 
execrationibus alterius.' Cap. 56. Polybius does not bear out this 
statefnent. Speaking of the troubles and perturbations which closed 
in on Philip's later life, he remarks more generally, 'Ei/ roiavrais 8' 

ovtrrjs arvxiais KOI rapaxais Ttjs avrov ^vx^s, ris OVK av eiKOTws u;roAd/3oi dfwv 
TIVCOV QVTW iMfjviv fls TO yrjpas KaTa<TKrj\l/ai 8ia ras fV rw Trpoyeyovori I3ia> Trapa- 

vopias. Lib. xxiv. cap. 8. Bacon may be assumed to be following 
Livy's account. 

1. 33. many like examples there are] Bacon's examples appear to 
prove his point that the entering by fathers into causeless suspicion 
of their children does not for the most part turn out fortunately. It 
is not so clear what good Bajazet or Henry the Second had from 
their reasonable distrust of ' sons who were up in open arms against 
them.' Selymus, the son of Bajazet the Second, having corrupted 
the soldiers and having been proclaimed Emperor by them in his 
father's stead, ' no lesse careful of the keeping of his estate, than he 
had before been for the obtaining of the same, . . . resolved most 
viper-like to kill his father. . . . The readiest and most secret way he 
could devise for the effecting of this his damnable device, was to 
worke it by poyson ; ' and this design he carried out by the agency 
of his father's chief physician. Knolles, Hist, of Turks, pp. 494-495. 

Henry the Second, in the later years of his reign, was in almost 
constant trouble from the plots and insurrections of his sons, and 
he died worn-out and broken-hearted in consequence. 

P. 134, 1. 16. more absolute, but less safe] This was a warning given 
by James I to his son. ' He tutored his son the Prince . . . chiefly to 
take heed how he bandied to pluck down a peer of the realm by the 
arm of the Lower House ; for the Lords were the hedge between 
himself and the people, and a breach made in that hedge might in 
time perhaps lay himself open.' Hacket, Life of Archbishop 
Williams, pt. i. p. 190. 


1. 18. / have noted it &c.] Conf. 'He kept a strait hand on his 
nobility, and chose rather to advance clergymen and lawyers, which 
were more obsequious to him, but had less interest in the people : 
which made for his absoluteness but not for his safety. Insomuch 
as I am persuaded it was one of the causes of his troublesome reign. 
For that his nobles, though they were loyal and obedient, yet did not 
co-operate with him, but let every man go his own way.' Works, 
vi. p. 242. 

1. 32. vena porta] ' La veine porte transmet au foie le sang qui 
revient de toute la portion sous-diaphragmatique du tube digestif, 
du pancreas et de la rate. . . . L'anatomie se trouve ici d'accord avec 
la physiologic experimentale pour admettre que les elements de leur 
secretion sont apportes aux lobules par la veine porte.' Sappey, 
Traite d' Anatomic Descriptive, vol. iv. pp. 338-340 (Paris, 1879). 

' The Vena Portae,' says Carpenter, ' is formed by the convergence of 
the veins that return the blood from the chylo-poietic viscera.' Human 
Physiology, p. 434 (ninth edition, 1881). 

In an earlier passage in the same book we read : ' We may con 
sider the sanguiferous vessels then, as affording the usual channel 
by which a large part of the nutritive materials are introduced into 
the system ; but these are not allowed to pass into the general 
current of the circulation, until they have been subjected to an im 
portant assimilating process, which it appears to be one great office 
of the liver to perform, whereby they are rendered more fit for the 
purposes they are destined to serve in the economy.' p. 184. 

Mr. Ellis, in a note on this passage in the Essay, quoted by Mr. 
Spedding, writes : ' The metaphor is historically curious ; for no one 
would have used it since the discovery of the circulation of the blood 
and of the lacteals. But in Bacon's time it was supposed that the 
chyle was taken up by the veins which converge to the vena porta. 
. . . Bacon's meaning therefore is that commerce concentrates the 
resources of a country in order to their redistribution,' &c. Works, 
vi. p. 422. 

The above is a correct account of Bacon's meaning, but it is other 
wise open to remark. The absorbents, of which the lacteals are 
a part, were observed by Caspar Aselli in 1622. 'When they were 
first discovered, and when their functional importance was per 
ceived, it was imagined that the introduction of alimentary fluid into 
the vascular system took place by them alone. Such an idea, how 
ever, would be altogether inconsistent with the facts of comparative 
anatomy, and it is completely negatived by the results of experiment.' 
Human Physiology, p. 182. 

It appears, therefore, pace Mr. Ellis, that the lacteals had been 
discovered in Bacon's day, but that the results of later investigation 
have left the old view as to the function of the vena porta substantially 


untouched. Bacon therefore has lost nothing in this instance by 
being unacquainted with the scientific movement of his age. 

The illustration is a favourite one with Bacon. Conf. e. g. ' Mer 
chandising, which is the vena porta of wealth in a state.' Essay 41. 
And, ' Being a king that loved wealth and treasure, he could not 
endure to have trade sick, nor any obstruction to continue in the 
gate- vein, which disperseth that blood.' Works, vi. 172. 

P. 135, 1. 2. Taxes and imposts} It is not clear from the text whether 
Bacon means to condemn direct taxes upon merchants, or indirect 
taxes upon imports. The Latin vectigalia et portoria immodica is in 
favour of the latter sense. So too, when in 1610, as King's Solicitor, 
he argues in support of the king's right of impositions, 'not, I say, 
touching any taxes within the land, but of payment at the ports,' he 
gives his hearers to understand that he does not therefore think 
these indirect taxes advisable; for he adds, presently, 'The question 
is de vero etfalso, and not de bono et malo, of the legal point and not 
of the inconvenience.' Letters and Life, iv. p. 191. 

1. 13. Janizaries] We have frequent instances of this in Knolles' 
Hist, of the Turks. Conf. ' About this time (i. e. circa 1360, in the 
reign of Amurath I), Zinderlu Chelil, then Cadalesher or chiefe 
Justice among the Turks, by the commandment of Amurath, took 
order, that every fifth captive of the Christians, being above fifteen 
yeres old, should be taken up for the King, as by law due unto him. 
. . . By which means great numbers of Christian youths were brought 
to the court as the king's captives, which by the counsell of the 
same Zinderlu Chelil, were distributed among the Turkish husband 
men in Asia, there to learn the Turkish language, religion, and 
manners, where after they had bin brought up in all painfull labour 
and travell by the space of two or three yeares, they were called 
unto the court, and choice made of the better sort of them to attend 
upon the person of the Prince, or to serve him in his wars ; where 
they daily practising all feats of activity are called by the name of 
Janizars (that is to say, new soldiers). This was the first beginning 
of the Janizars under this Sultan, Amurath the first, but had great 
increase under Amurath the second, and hath ever since bin con 
tinued by the Turkish Kings and Emperors, by the same and some 
other greater means ; so that in processe of time they be grown to 
that greatnes as that they are oftentimes right dreadful to the great 
Turke himselfe ; after whose death they have sometime preferred 
to the Empire such of the Emperor's sons as they best liked, without 
respect of prerogative of age, contrary to the will of the great Sultan 
himself; and are at this day the greatest strength of the Turkish 
empire and not unlike in time to be the greatest cause of the ruine 
thereof.' p. 191. 

Again, at the accession of Mahomet the Second, ' The Janizaries 


also at the same time (according to their accustomed manner) took 
the spoile of the Christians and Jews that dwelt amongst them, and 
easily obtained pardon for the same : whereupon he was by the 
same Janizaries and other souldiers of the court, with great triumph 
saluted King. Which approbation of these men of war, is unto the 
Turkish Kings a greater assurance for the possession of their King- 
dome, than to be borne the eldest son of the King, as in the processe 
of this History shall appeare ; so great is the power of these master- 
full slaves, in promoting to the kingdome whichsoever of the King's 
sons they most favour without much regard whether they be eldest 
or not.' p. 337. 

' At the accession of Selymus the first he gave unto the souldiers 
of the court two millions of duckats ; and for a perpetuall remem 
brance of his thankfulnesse towards them, augmented their daily 
wages.' p. 499. 

At the accession of Solyman the Magnificent (1520) 'the Jani 
zaries disappointed by the Bassaes of the spoile of the merchants, 
especially Christians and Jewes, received of the bounty of Solyman 
a great largious ; and in the beginning of his reigne had their 
accustomed wages somewhat augmented also, to their wonderfull 
contentment.' p. 568. 

So, too, at the accession of Selymus the Second 'he gave to the 
Janizaries a largesse of 100000 Sultannies, with promise to augment 
their wages.' Shortly afterwards ' thinking to enter his palace, he was 
by the discontented Janizaries, but now come from the wars, pro 
hibited so to do, they with great insolencie demanding of him a 
greater donative, together with a confirmation both of their ancient 
and new privileges. . . . With which so sudden and unexpected a 
mutiny of his best souldiers Selymus not a little troubled, and calling 
unto him the Aga or captain of the Janizaries, demanded of him the 
cause therof. Who with tears trickling down his cheeks for grief, told 
him it was for money. Which by Selymus now promised unto them, 
together with the confirmation of their liberties, . . . the mutiny was 
at length appeased, the insolent Janizaries again quieted.' p. 828. 

Again, Amurath the Third, at his accession ' besides the usual 
larges which the Turkish Emperours at their first entrance into the 
empire bestow upon them, augmented also their daily wages.' p. 

Numerous other instances of their rapacity and turbulence occur 
in the course of the history. 

1. 13. Praetorian bands] These were the body-guard of the 
Emperors. The custom for them 'to live and remain in a body' 
was introduced by Sejanus, in opposition to the rule followed in the 
reign of Augustus. ' Vim praefecturae modicam antea intendit, dis- 
persas per urbem cohortes una in castra conducendo, ut simul 



imperia acciperent, numeroque et robore et visu inter se fiducia 
ipsis, in ceteros metus cresceret.' Tacitus, Ann. iv. cap. 2. The 
expected result followed, but not with the advantage which Sejanus 
looked for to himself. Conf. e. g. ' Armatos pro concione jurare in 
nomen suum passus est : promisitque singulis quina dena sestertia, 
primus Caesarum fidem militis etiam praemio pigneratus.' Sue 
tonius, Claudius, cap. 10. ' Illatusque castris Nero, et congruentia 
tempori praefatus, promisso donativo ad exemplum paternae largi- 
tionis, Imperator consalutatur.' Tacitus, Ann. xii. 69. 

Galba's refusal to comply with this custom was a chief cause of 
his ruin ; vide note on Essay 15, p. no. Gibbon, in the fifth chapter of 
his Decline and Fall, gives the history of the Praetorians from their 
establishment under Augustus to their murder of the Emperor 
Pertinax and offer of the Empire by auction to the highest bidder. 

1. 17. Princes are like to heavenly bodies &c.] Conf. ' Ex quo se 
Caesar orbi terrarum dedicavit, sibi eripuit : et siderum modo, quae 
irrequieta semper cursus suos explicant, nunquam illi licet nee 
subsistere, nee quicquam suum facere.' Seneca, Consol. ad Poly- 
bium, cap. 26 (p. 95, B). And, 'The Persian magic, which was the 
secret literature of their kings, was an observation of the con 
templations of nature, and an application thereof to a sense politic . . . 
After this manner the aforesaid instructors set before their princes 
the example of the celestial bodies, the sun, the moon and the rest, 
which have great glory and veneration, but no rest or intermission : 
being in a perpetual office of motion for the cherishing, in turn and 
in course, of inferior bodies.' Letters and Life, iii. 90. 

The Encyclopedic Dictionnaire, sub voce ' Perses,' gives what 
purports to be a translation of the will of Khosroes the Great, 
addressed to his son. The following is an extract from it : 

' Lorsqu'il aura ferme mes yeux, qui deja ne peuvent pas soutenir 
la lumiere du soleil, qu'il monte sur mon tr6ne, et que dela il jette 
sur mes sujets une splendeur egale a celle de cet astre. II doit se 
ressouvenir que les rois sont revetus du pouvoir souverain, et qu'ils 
ne sont a 1'egard du reste des hommes que comme le ciel est a 
1'egard de la terre. La terre produira-t-elle des fruits si le ciel ne 
1'arrose? . . . Voyez ce soleil ; il part d'un bout du monde pour aller 
a 1'autre ; il se cache et se remontre ensuite ; et s'il change de route 
tous les jours ce n'est que pour faire bien a tous ... II est toujours 
dans le ciel ; soutenez la majeste royale ; il xnarche toujours ; soyez 
sans cesse occupe du soin du gouvernement.' 

So in Plutarch, Life of Themistocles. Artabanus says, ' Amongst 
all the goodly lawes and customs we have, we esteeme this above 
the rest, to reverence and honour our king as the image of the God 
of nature who keepeth all things in their perfect life and state.' 
North's trans, p. no. 




THE greatest trust between man and man is the trust of 
giving counsel ; for in other confidences men commit the 
parts of life ; their lands, their goods, their children, their 
credit, some particular affair; but to such as they make 
their counsellors they commit the whole : by how much 
the more they are obliged to all faith and integrity. The 
wisest princes need not think it any diminution to their 
greatness, or derogation to their sufficiency, to rely upon 
counsel. God himself is not without, but hath made it 
one of the great names of his blessed Son, The Counsellor, 10 
Salomon hath pronounced that in counsel is stability. 
Things will have their first or second agitation : if they be 
not tossed upon the arguments of counsel, they will be- 
tossed upon the waves of fortune, and be full of incon 
stancy, doing and undoing, like the reeling of a drunken 
man. Salomon's son found the force of counsel, as his 
father saw the necessity of it : for the beloved kingdom of 
God was first rent and broken by ill counsel ; upon which 
counsel there are set for our instruction the two marks 
whereby bad counsel is for ever best discerned, that it 20 
was young counsel for the persons, and violent counsel for 
the matter. 

The ancient times do set forth in figure both the incor 
poration and inseparable conjunction of counsel with 
Kings, and the wise and politic use of counsel by Kings : 
the one, in that they say Jupiter did marry Metis, which 
signifieth counsel ; whereby they intend that sovereignty 
is married to counsel ; the other, in that which followeth, 
which was thus : they say, after Jupiter was married 
to Metis, she conceived by him and was with child ; but 3 
Jupiter suffered her not to stay till she brought forth, but 
eat her up : whereby he became himself with child, and 

L 2 

148 ESSAY XX. 

was delivered of Pallas armed, out of his head. Which 
monstrous fable containeth a secret of empire, how Kings 
are to make use of their council of state : that first, they 
ought to refer matters unto them, which is the first be 
getting or impregnation; but when they are elaborate, 
moulded, and shaped in the womb of their council, and 
grow ripe and ready to be brought forth, that then 
they suffer not their council to go through with the 
resolution and direction, as if it depended on them ; but 

10 take the matter back into their own hands, and make 
it appear to the world, that the decrees and final directions 
(which, because they come forth with prudence and power, 
are resembled to Pallas armed), proceeded from them 
selves ; and not only from their authority, but (the more 
to add reputation to themselves) from their head and 

Let us now speak of the inconveniences of counsel, and 
of the remedies. The inconveniences that have been noted 
in calling and using counsel, are three : first, the revealing 

20 of affairs, whereby they become less secret ; secondly, the 
weakening of the authority of princes, as if they were less 
of themselves ; thirdly, the danger of being unfaithfully 
counselled, and more for the good of them that counsel 
than of him that is counselled; for which inconveniences, 
the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France in some 
Kings' times, hath introduced cabinet councils 3 ; a remedy 
worse than the disease. 

As to secrecy; princes are not bound to communicate 
all matters with all counsellors, but may extract and select ; 

30 neither is it necessary that he that consulteth what he 

* cabinet councils] The sense in which Mistresse, that is the councelles of 

these words are used is clear from the State to which Princes are solemnly 

MS. of 1607-12, where after ' worse marryed, to councells of gracious per- 

than the disease,' there follows (omitted sons recommended cheifly by flattery 

in all the printed editions) ' which hath and affection.' Arber's English Re- 

tourned Metis the wife, to Metis the prints, Harmony of the Essays, p. 318. 


should do, should declare what he will do ; but let princes 
beware that the unsecreting of their affairs comes not from 
themselves : and, as for cabinet councils, it may be their 
motto, Plenus rimarum sum: one futile person b , that 
maketh it his glory to tell, will do more hurt than many, 
that know it their duty to conceal. It is true there be 
some affairs, which require extreme secrecy, which will 
hardly go c beyond one or two persons besides the King : 
neither are those counsels unprosperous ; for, besides the 
secrecy, they commonly go on constantly in one spirit of 10 
direction without distraction : but then it must be a prudent 
King, such as is able to grind with a hand-mill d ; and those 
inward 6 counsellors had need also be wise men, and espe 
cially true and trusty to the King's ends ; as it was with 
King Henry the Seventh of England, who in his greatest 
business imparted himself to none, except it were to 
Morton and Fox. 

For weakening of authority; the fable f showeth the 
remedy : nay, the majesty of Kings is rather exalted than 
diminished when they are in the chair of counsel ; neither ao 
was there ever prince bereaved of his dependencies g by 
his council, except where there hath been either an over- 
greatness in one counsellor, or an over strict combination 
in divers, which are things soon found and holpen h . 

For the last inconvenience, that men will counsel with 

b one futile person] i. e. talkative. d able to grind with a hand-mill] i. e. 

Vide Note on Essay 6. The Italian, able to conduct his own business. The 

which does not translate Essay 6, gives Latin varies the metaphor proprio 

here nn cicalone. marte validus. 

which will hardly go &c.] The e inward] i.e. intimate, confidential. 

Latin qualis (sc. occultatio) non facile Conf. 'A servant or favourite if he be 

ultra notitiam uniusaut duorum,praeter inward.' Essay n, and Note on 

ipsum regent, excedet implies that the passage. 

sense is which (secrecy) will hardly ' the fable] i.e. the story, given above, 

be observed (if the affairs are known) of Jupiter and Metis, 

by more than one or two, etc. A more g bereaved of his dependencies] Lat. 

obvious sense would be which (affairs) auctoritate sua imminutum. 

can hardly with safety be made known h holpen} i. e. remedied. Lat. sa- 

to more than one or two, &c. nantur. 


an eye to themselves ; certainly, non inveniet fidem super 
terram is meant of the nature of times, and not of all 
particular persons. There be that are in nature faithful 
and sincere, and plain and direct, not crafty and involved : 
let princes, above all, draw to themselves such natures. 
Besides, counsellors are not commonly so united, but that 
one counsellor keepeth sentinel over another; so that if 
any do counsel out of faction i or private ends, it commonly 
comes to the King's ear : but the best remedy is, if princes 
10 know their counsellors as well as their counsellors know 


Principis est virtus maxima nosse suos. 

And on the other side, counsellors should not be too 
speculative into their sovereign's person. The true com 
position of a counsellor is, rather to be skilful in their 
master's business than in his nature ; for then he is like to 
advise him, and not to feed his humour. It is of singular 
use to princes if they take the opinions of their council 
both separately and together ; for private opinion is more 
20 free, but opinion before others is more reverend k . In 
private, men are more bold in their own humours ; and 
in consort, men are more obnoxious to 1 others' humours ; 
therefore it is good to take both ; and of the inferior sort 
rather in private, to preserve freedom ; of the greater 
rather in consort, to preserve respect. It is in vain for 

1 out of faction &c.] One of Blunde- Blundevill, Of Counsell (ed. of 1570. 

vill's cautions shows exactly what The pages are not numbered), 
this means. He gives among the k more reverend^ The Latin gives 

marks to be looked for in a bad coun- gravior a correct translation of the 

sellor : ' Whyther he be factious, that word. But it is clear, from the sentence 

is to say favouring and maintayning which follows, that Bacon means here 

one part of the state more than another, reverent, not reverend. The edition 

as the Nobles more than the commons of 1612 reads reverent. The Italian 

or contrarywise . . . which kinde of translation of it is riverente. 
men are perilous in all common- ' obnoxious to] i. e. somewhat sub- 

wealthes. For so as their faction may servient to, or liable to be influenced by. 

stand, be it by right or by wrong, they Conf. ' Somewhat obnoxious to him for 

care not what mischiefs they do, having his favours and benefits.' Works, vi. 64, 

no regard to the Commonwealth at al.' and Mr. Spedding's Note on the word. 


princes to take counsel concerning matters, if they take 
no counsel likewise concerning persons ; for all matters 
are as dead images : and the life of the execution of affairs 
resteth in the good choice of persons : neither is it enough 
to consult concerning persons, secundum genera, as in an 
idea or mathematical description, what the kind and cha 
racter of the person should be ; for the greatest errors are 
committed, and the most judgment is shown, in the choice 
of individuals. It was truly said, Optimi consiliarii mortui; 
books will speak plain when counsellors blanch 1 "; there- TO 
fore it is good to be conversant in them, specially the 
books of such as themselves have been actors upon the 

The councils at this day in most places are but familiar 
meetings, where matters are rather talked on than de 
bated; and they run too swift to the order or act of 
council. It were better that in causes of weight the 
matter were propounded one day and not spoken to till 
the next day; In node consilium: so was it done in the 
commission of union between England and Scotland, 20 
w r hich was a grave and orderly assembly. I commend 
set days for petitions ; for both it gives the suitors more 
certainty for their attendance, and it frees the meetings for 
matters of estate, that they may hoc agere. In choice of 
committees for ripening business for the council, it is 
better to choose indifferent 11 persons, than to make an 
indifferency by putting in those that are strong on both 
sides. I commend also standing commissions; as for 
trade, for treasure, for war, for suits, for some provinces ; 
for where there be divers particular councils, and but one 30 

ra blanch] Lat. in adulationem lap- with which it was probably confounded. 

suri sint. Fr. ntanqueront. Ital. Blandish or blench will equally suit 

quando gli conseglieri s' accommodano. the text. 

In Murray's New English Dictionary n indifferent} i. e. impartial, unaf- 

the word is said to be apparently worn fected to either side. Lat. qui aequi 

down from blandish, and to approach sint et in neutram partem propen- 

in meaning some senses of blench, deant. 

153 ESSAY XX. 

council of estate (as it is in Spain), they are, in effect, no 
more than standing commissions, save that they have 
greater authority. Let such as are to inform councils out 
of their particular professions (as lawyers, seamen, mintmen, 
and the like) be first heard before committees ; and then, 
as occasion serves, before the council; and let them not 
come in multitudes, or in a tribunitious manner ; for that 
is to clamour councils, not to inform them. A long table 
and a square table, or seats about the walls, seem things 
10 of form, but are things of substance ; for at a long table 
a few at the upper end, in effect, sway all the business ; 
but in the other form there is more use of the counsellors' 
opinions that sit lower. A King, when he presides in 
council, let him beware how he opens his own inclination 
too much in that which he propoundeth; for else coun 
sellors will but take the wind of him p , and instead of 
giving free counsel, will sing him a song of placebo q . 


P. 147, 1. 10. The Counsellor} Isaiah ix. 6. 

1. ii. in counsel is stability] This is a loose quotation. The 
Authorized Version gives, ' Every purpose is established by counsel,' 
Proverbs xx. 18. The Vulgate is Cogitationes consiliis roborantur. 

tribunitious] i. e. after the fashion mine own particular, I would have 
of the ' tribuni plebis,' clamorous, dis- him know that I am not so unseen in 
orderly, as their conduct is represented the world but that I discern it were 
in Livy passim. Vide Note at end of much alike for my private fortune to 
Essay, p. 155. rest a tacebo, as to sing a placebo in this 

P will but take the wind of him] Lat. business; but I have spoken out of 

se ad nutum ejus applicabunt. The the fountain of my heart.' Letters 

metaphor seems to be the same as in and Life, iii. 325. The phrase is a 

the common phrase will see which humourous adaptation or perversion 

way the wind blows. from the Roman office for the dead, 

1 a song of placebo'} i.e. will follow which begins with Placebo Domino; 
his humour. For this phrase conf. the then follows Ps. 114 (116 in the Eng- 
close of Bacon's speech on the General lish version), in which the full text 
Naturalization of the Scottish Nation. occurs (v. 9) Placebo Domino in regione 
1 Mr. Speaker, I have, I take it, gone vivorum. Vide Officium Defunctorum, 
through the parts which I propounded in the Rituale Romanum Pauli V Jussu 
to myself, wherein if any man shall Editum, &c., pp. 160, 161. (Romae, 
think that I have sung a placebo for 1847.) 


1. 16. Salomon's son] i Kings chap. xii. 

1. 23. The ancient times] ' The wisdom of the ancients ' gives the 
same explanation as the text. Conf. Cap. xxx. Metis sive Consilium. 
Works, vi. p. 683. 

P. 149, 1. 4. Plenus rimarum sum] 

' Quae vera audivi, taceo et contineo optume : 
Sin falsuni aut vanum aut fictum est, continue palam est : 
Plenus rimarum sum; hac atque iliac perfluo.' 

Terence, Eunuchus, act. i. sc. 2. 1. 23-25. 

1. 15. King Henry the Seventh} 'About this time (i.e. about the end 
of 1485) the King called unto his Privy Counsel John Morton and 
Richard Foxe, the one Bishop of Ely, the other Bishop of Exeter ; 
vigilant men and secret, and such as kept watch with him almost 
upon all men else.' Works, vi. 40. At the summing up at the end 
of the History, we find Morton and Sir Reignold Bray mentioned 
together as counsellors of ancient authority with the King, p. 240 ; 
and again, p. 242, Morton, Foxe, Bray and several others mentioned 
as serving him in his affairs, and as the ablest men that were then 
to be found. 

P. 150, 1. i. non inveniet fidem &c.] It is clear from the concluding 
words of Essay i that Bacon is here referring to Luke xviii. 8. 

1. 12. Principis est virtus &c.] Martial, Epigr. viii. 15, 1. 8. The 
passage is quoted by Montaigne, with an added remark that it 
describes an excellence very rarely to be found ; Essays, Bk. iii. 
chap. 8. 

P. 151, 1. 9. It was truly said &c.] This was a saying of Alonso or 
Alphonso of Aragon (1416-1458). Conf. ' Dezia el Rey don Alonso de 
Aragon que ninguno avia de tomar consejo con los vivos, si no con los 
muertos : entendiendo por los libros : porque sin amor ni temor siem- 
pre dizen la verdad.' Tuningius, Apophthegmata (ed. 1609), Hispanica, 
p. 34. And, ' Optimos consiliarios esse mortuos dicebat, libros videlicet 
designans, a quibus, sine metu sine gratia, quae nosse cuperet fideliter 
audiret.' Antonius Panormita, De dictis et factis Alphonsi Regis 
Aragonum, Lib. iii. cap. i. We learn from other parts of the collec 
tion the exceeding value which Alphonso put upon books : ' Cum 
libris sub sponda solitum dormire regem scimus, experrectum illos 
cum lumine poscere ac lectitare. Ab his, quid sibi quid civibus 
conveniret edoceri potissimum aiebat.' Lib. iv. cap. 31. And again 
in cap. 34. 

The saying is quoted in Bacon's 'Formularies and Elegancies,' 
Works, vii. 201, and is referred to in the 'Apophthegms' and ex 
plained as in the Essay: 'Alonso of Aragon was wont to say of 
himself that he was a great necromancer, for that he used to ask counsel 
of the dead: meaning books.' Works, vii. 140. 

154 ESSAY XX. 

In the preface to the first English translation of the Decameron 
(1625), the saying is ascribed, somewhat incorrectly, to the Stoic 
philosopher, Zeno, who ' being demanded on a time by what means 
a man might attain to happiness, made answer : By resorting to the 
dead and having familiar conversation with them. Intimating thereby 
the reading of ancient and modern Histories, and endeavouring to learn 
such good instructions as have been observed in our Predecessors' 
Diogenes Laertius, in his life of Zeno, gives the correct authority 

for it : 'EKUTUV fie (prjtri KOI 'ATroXXeacio? 6 Tvpios . . . xpr)<rn]piaofjifvov ai/Tov 
ri irpaTTa>v apicrra (SiaxTfTcu, diroKpivacrdai TOV deov, ei crvyxp<arioiTO TOIS 
vfKpois. "Odfv (rvvevTa, TO. TO>V ap^aitov avayivaxTKtiv. Lib. vii. S6C. 2. 

1. 17. It were better} Conf. Bacon's Advice to Villiers : ' I do 
heartily wish that the Councillors themselves would be so advised 
in their resolutions that they should never be sudden, but that all 
things there propounded and debated one day, should be revised 
the next, and then confirmed or altered upon second thoughts.' 
Letters and Life, vi. 19. 

1. 19. In node consilium] Gaisford, in the Paroemiographi Graeci, 
gives several proverbs to this effect. 'Ev WKT\ jSovXi? : napoipia 

eTTfidfj rj(rv)(Lav fj vv fX fl * a * St'ScBori rols TTfpl Ta>v dvayKaia>i> 

a-xo^fjv. Prov. e Cod. Bodleiano, 359. 

Kara TroSos f3d(Tiv : 'Enl TWV Kara fiiKpov TI TrparrdiTooi/ cal p.fTa Tf%i>T)S. 

'o/ioi'a rfj, *Ev WKT\ pov\rj. Prov. Diogeniani, Cent. v. 95. 

'Eif vvKrl /3ovX^ : 'H Trapoip.ia OVT&S elprjrat, firei8f] fivvxiav e^ei fj vv% KOI 
fi/ficaeri Kara o-^o\i)i/ \oyia-fjiovs K.r.X. Prov. Zenobii, Cent. iii. 97. 

Erasmus, in the Adagia, sub titulo In node Consilium, explains 
the proverb as above, and adds, ' Praeterea, saepenumero fit, ut 
somnus sedata cupiditate pristinam sententiam vertat. Unde etiam 
vulgo dicitur ab idiotis nostratibus, super hac re indormiam : ubi sig 
nificant se per ocium deliberaturos.' Chiliadis Secundae Cent. ii. 43. 

To the same effect is the common French proverb : La nuit porte 

1. 19. 50 was it done} Conf. Journal of the Proceedings of the 
Commission : ' Agreed by a full consent that every time of assembly, 
after the matters concluded at that sitting, there shall be propositions 
made of such particular questions and matters as shall be debated 
at the next sitting.' Letters and Life, iii. 241. 

1. 22. set days] This is Bacon's Advice to Villiers : ' When suitors 
come to you, set apart a certain hour in the day to give them audience.' 
Letters and Life, vi. 29. 

1. 24. hoc agere\ i. e. give sole attention to the business in hand. 
Torrentius, in a note on hoc age in Suetonius, Caligula, cap. 58, says : 
' Quod (teste Plutarcho vita Coriolani) magna praeconis voce in sacris 
usurpari solet. Hoc age in proverbium ad res alias quoque abiisse 
videtur, cum attentionem imperamus.' Tertullian, lib. iv. adversus 


Marcionem : ' Ut dici solet, ad quod venimus, hoc age? The passage 
in Plutarch is 'When the magistrates, bishops, priests, or other 
religious ministers go about any divine service or matter of religion, 
an herald ever goeth before them, crying out aloud, Hoc age : as to 
say, do this or mind this. Hereby they are specially commanded 
wholly to dispose themselves to serve God, leaving all other business 
and matters aside.' Lives, North's trans, p. 234. 

Conf. also, e. g. ' hoc agam,' Terence, Andria, ii. 5, 1. 4. The phrase 
is of frequent occurrence. 

P. 152, 1. i. as it is in Spain} Conf. 'The King of Spain for the 
government of his dominions hath seven councils ; viz. the council of 
the Indies, the council of Spain, the council of Italy and the Low 
Countries, the council of war, the council of orders, the council of 
inquisition, the council royal.' Ralegh, The Cabinet Council, cap. viii. 

1. 7. Mbunitious] Conf., e. g., ' Loquaces, seditiosos, semina dis- 
cordiarum, iterum ac tertium tribunes pessimis artibus regia licentia 
vivere.' Livy iii. 19. ' Negabant consules jam ultra ferri posse furores 
tribunicios. Ventum jam ad finem esse : domi plus belli concitari 
quam foris.' iv. 2. ' Si unquam dubitatum est, Quirites, utrum tribuni 
plebis vestra an sua causa seditionum semper auctores fuerint,' &c, 
v. 3. ' Seditionum omnium causa Tribunicia potestas.' Florus, 
Epitome, iii. 13. 

1. 13. A King, when he presides &c.] Conf. 'Quotiens una cum 
senioribus tuis de re graviore deliberas, cave tuam intelligant volup- 
tatem, ne forte cupiditatem tuam potius quam utilitatem et dignitatem 
consulendo sequantur.' Ficinus, Epist. de institutione Principis, 
Opera, vol. i. p. 797 (Basileae, 1576). 

This is the rule of conduct which Bacon, in his private diary, lays 
down for himself, not only with the King, but with any others whom 
he supposed it for his interest to please : ' At Counsel table cheefly 
to make good my L. of Salsb. mocions and speaches, and for 
the rest some tymes one, sometymes another; cheefly his y* is 
most earnest and in affection.' Letters and Life, iv. 93. 



FORTUNE is like the market, where many times, if you 
can stay a little, the price will fall ; and again, it is some 
times like Sibylla's offer, which at first offereth the com- 


modity at full, then consumeth part and part, and still 
holdeth up the price ; for occasion (as it is in the common 
verse) turneth a bald noddle after she hath presented her 
locks in front, and no hold taken; or, at least, turneth the 
handle of the bottle first to be received, and after the 
belly, which is hard to clasp. There is surely no greater 
wisdom than well to time the beginnings and onsets 
of things. Dangers are no more light, if they once seem 
light ; and more dangers have deceived men than forced 

10 them a : nay, it were better to meet some dangers half-way, 
though they come nothing near, than to keep too long 
a watch upon their approaches ; for if a man watch too 
long, it is odds he will fall asleep. On the other side, 
to be deceived with too long shadows (as some have been 
when the moon was low, and shone on their enemies' 
back), and so to shoot off before the time ; or to teach 
dangers to come on by over early buckling towards 
them b , is another extreme. The ripeness or unripeness of 
the occasion (as we said) must ever be well weighed ; and 

20 generally it is good to commit the beginnings of all great 
actions to Argus with his hundred eyes, and the ends 
to Briareus with his hundred hands ; first to watch and 
then to speed ; for the helmet of Pluto, which maketh the 
politic man c go invisible, is secrecy in the counsel, and 
celerity in the execution ; for when things are once come 
to the execution, there is no secrecy comparable to 
celerity; like the motion of a bullet in the air, which 
flieth so swift as it outruns the eye. 

* than forced them] The Latin gives may, therefore, be = buckling on his 

the sense more clearly than the En- armour to go and meet them. The 

glish plura pericula fefelleruni quam Latin version of the Essay gives pre- 

vim intulerunt. mature obviando, which points rather 

b by over early buckling towards them\ to another word used in what seems to 

The meaning is uncertain. The cor- be its proper original sense beginning 

responding passage in the Antitheta to move towards. 

gives, Docet periculum progredi qui c the politic man] i. e. the politician. 

accingitur, et periculum figit remedio. Lat. politicum. 
Works, i. 705. Buckling towards them 



P. 156. 1. 2. occasion] Conf. ' Apud Graecos mas est hie deus, 
appellaturque naipos. Ejus simulacrum ad hunc modum fingebat 
antiquitas, Volubili rotae pennatis msistens pedibus, vertigine quam 
citissima semet in orbem circumagit, priore capitis parte capillis 
hirsuta, posteriore glabra, ut ilia facile prehendi queat, hac nequeat. 
Unde dictum est, occasionem arripere. Ad quod erudite simul et 
eleganter allusit quisquis is fuit qui versiculum hunc conscripsit, 
" Fronte capillata, post haec Occasio calva." ' 

Erasmi Adagia, sub tit. ' Nosce tempus.' 
'Cursu volucri pendens, in novacula, 
Calvus comosa fronte, nudo corpore, 
Quern si occuparis teneas ; elapsum semel 
Non ipse possit Jupiter reprehendere : 
Occasionem rerum significat brevem.' 

Phaedrus, Fables, lib. v. fab. 8. 
fig) iroSfV 6 TrXaor^y; SIKVOOI/IOJ. ovi/opa df) TI; 
AvtrtTTTro?. crv fie, T'LS ', Kaipos 6 Travfia/idVcop. 
*H 8e Kop.r), TI KUT' o^\nv; V7ravrid<ravTi Xa/3ecr$ai, 

Ni) Ai'a. Tat-onidev fi' els TI (paXaKpa TreXf i ; 
Toy yap anaf- TTTrjvola-i irapadpf^avrd p.e Trocrcrlv 
OVTIS e$' lfj.eip<av dpd^erai (^oTTidev. 

To a statue of Occasion. Brunck's Anthologia Graeca, ii. 49. 

'Yceulx je suis dadvyz que nous poursuyvons, ce pendant que 
Iheur est pour nous : car loccasion ha tous ses cheveulx on front ; 
quand elle est oultrepassee, vous ne la pouvez plus revocquer : elle est 
chaulve par le derriere de la teste, et janiais plus ne retourne. 
Rabelais, Gargantuaj i. cap. 37. 

' Pingi solet et recte Occasio, foemina, alata, occipitio calva, sphae- 
rulae insidens quod nequeat apud aliquem diu manere. . . . et ideo 
moliri semper novi aliquid oportet, et nunquam fidere praeteritis, 
Senescunt humana omnia.' Cardan, De Sapientia, lib. iii. 

1. 14. as some have been when the moon was low &c.] Conf. ' Because 
the Moon was very low, the shadow which gave out further far than 
their bodies, came almost even to their very enemies, which did let 
them (i. e. the soldiers of Mithridates) that they could not certainly 
judge what space of ground was between them, but imagining that 
they were hard by them, they cast their darts at the Romans, but they 
hurt never a man, for their bodies were a great way from them.' 
Plutarch, Lives (Pompeius), p. 647. 

1. 23. helmet oj Pluto} Conf. ' Galea Plutonis (quae homines invisi- 
biles reddere solebat) manifesta parabola est. Nam consiliorum 
occultatio, post celeritatem, maximi ad bellum est momenti. Cujus 
etiam celeritas ipsa pars magna est. Celeritas enim consiliorum 
evulgationem praevertit.' Works, i. 533. 



WE take cunning for a sinister, or crooked wisdom ; 
and certainly there is great difference between a cunning 
man and a wise man, not only in point of honesty, 
but in point of ability. There be that can pack the 
cards and yet cannot play well ; so there are some 
that are good in canvasses a and factions, that are other 
wise weak men. Again, it is one thing to understand 
persons, and another thing to understand matters ; for 
many are perfect in men's humours that are not greatly 

10 capable of the real part of business ; which is the con 
stitution of one that hath studied men more than books. 
Such men are fitter for practice b than for counsel, and 
they are good but in their own alley: turn them to 
new men, and they have lost their aim ; so as the old 
rule, to know a fool from a wise man, Mitte ambos nudos 
ad ignotos et videbis, doth scarce hold for them ; and, 
because these cunning men are like haberdashers of 
small wares, it is not amiss to set forth their shop. 

It is a point of cunning to wait upon him with whom 

20 you speak with your eye, as the Jesuits give it in precept ; 
for there be many wise men that have secret hearts and 
transparent countenances : yet this would be done d with 
a demure abasing of your eye sometimes, as the Jesuits 
also do use. 

a canvasses] here probably ' in- Conf. 

trigues.' The French gives practiques ; ' What mean dull souls in this 

the Latin competitionibus. Conf. ' Also high measure 

that there be no brigues nor canvasses, To haberdash 

whereof I hear too much.' Letters In earth's base wares?' 

and Life, iv. 372. Quarles' Emblems, bk. ii. Emb. 5,!. 37. 

b practice] i.e. trickery, the usual So, in Cotgrave's Diet, merrier is trans- 
sense with Bacon. lated a good pedler or mean haber- 

c haberdashers] i. e. small dealers in dasher of small wares, 

various kinds of goods. Lat. similes d would be done] i. e. ought to be 

sunt pusillarum mercium propolis. done. So passim. 


Another is, that when you have anything to obtain of 
present dispatch, you entertain and amuse the party with 
whom you deal with some other discourse, that he be not 
too much awake to make objections. I knew a counsellor 
and secretary that never came to Queen Elizabeth of 
England with bills to sign, but he would always first put 
her into some discourse of estate, that she might the less 
mind the bills. 

The like surprise may be made by moving things when 
the party is in haste, and cannot stay to consider advisedly 10 
of that is moved. 

If a man would cross a business that he doubts some 
other would handsomely and effectually move, let him 
pretend to wish it well, and move it himself in such sort 
as may foil it. 

The breaking off in the midst of that one was about to 
say, as if he took himself up, breeds a greater appetite in 
him with whom you confer to know more. 

And because it works better when anything seemeth to 
be gotten from you by question than if you offer it of 20 
yourself, you may lay a bait for a question, by showing 
another visage and countenance than you are wont ; to the 
end, to give occasion for the party to ask what the matter 
is of the change ? as Nehemias did, And I had not before 
that time been sad before the king. 

In things that are tender 6 and unpleasing, it is good to 
break the ice by some whose words are of less weight, 
and to reserve the more weighty voice to come in as by 
chance, so that he may be asked the question upon the 
other's speech ; as Narcissus did, in relating to Claudius 3 
the marriage of Messalina and Silius. 

In things that a man would not be seen in himself, 
it is a point of cunning to borrow the name of the 

6 tender] i.e. that need delicate hand- in tender matters and ticklish times to 
ling. Conf. ' Surely, princes had need beware what they say.' Essay 15. 


world ; as to say, The world says, or There is a speech 

I knew one that when he wrote a letter he would put 
that which was most material in the postscript, as if it had 
been a by-matter. 

I knew another that when he came to have speech he 
would pass over that that he intended most : and go forth 
and come back again, and speak of it as of a thing that he 
had almost forgot. 

10 Some procure themselves to be surprised at such times 
as it is like the party that they work upon will suddenly 
come upon them, and to be found with a letter in their 
hand, or doing somewhat which they are not accustomed ; 
to the end they may be apposed of f those things which of 
themselves they are desirous to utter. 

It is a point of cunning to let fall these words in a man's 
own name, which he would have another man learn and 
use, and thereupon take advantage. I knew two that were 
competitors for the secretary's place, in Queen Elizabeth's 

20 time, and yet kept good quarter g between themselves, 
and would confer one with another upon the business ; 
and the one of them said, that to be a secretary in the 
declination of a monarchy was a ticklish thing, and that he 
did not affect it : the other straight caught up those words, 
and discoursed with divers of his friends, that he had no 
reason to desire to be secretary in the declination of a 
monarchy. The first man took hold of it, and found means 
it was told the queen ; who, hearing of a declination of 
a monarchy, took it so ill, as she would never after hear of 

30 the other's suit. 

1 may be apposed of] i. e. may be tractabant. The nearest parallel that 
questioned about. Lat. ut interrogentur I can find for this use is where lago 
de. Conf. ' Let his questions not be speaks of Cassio, Roderigo, and Mon- 
troublesome, for that is fit for a poser.' tano as ' friends ... in quarter,' mean- 
Essay 32. ing apparently that they were on 

g kept good quarter] i. e. kept on friendly terms with one another ; 

good terms. Lat. se invicem amice Othello, act ii. sc. 3. 



There is a cunning, which we in England call the turning 
of the cat in the pan h ; which is, when that which a man 
says to another, he lays it as if another had said it to him ; 
and, to say truth, it is not easy, when such a matter passed 
between two to make it appear from which of them it first 
moved and began. 

It is a way that some men have, to glance and dart at 
others by justifying themselves by negatives; as to say, This 
I do not; as Tigellinus did towards Burrhus, Se non diversas 
spes, sed incolumitatem imperatoris simpliciter spectare. 10 

Some have in readiness so many tales and stories, as 
there is nothing they would insinuate, but they can wrap 
it into a tale; which serveth both to keep themselves 
more in guard, and to make others carry it with more 
pleasure \ 

It is a good point of cunning for a man to shape the 
answer he would have in his own words and propositions ; 
for it makes the other party stick the less. 

It is strange how long some men will lie in wait to speak 
somewhat they desire to say; and how far about they will 2 
fetch, and how many other matters they will beat over to 
come near it : it is a thing of great patience, but yet of 
much use. 

h turning of the cat &c. The mean 
ing which Bacon gives to this phrase 
is shown by his own explanation of it. 
The Latin renders it by Felem in aheno 
vertere, and adds, appositely enough, 
satis absurde dicitur. It was not al 
ways used in the same sense in the 
song e. g. of the Vicar of Bray it means 
to become a turncoat : 
' When George at pudding time came 

And moderate men look'd big, 

I turned the cat in the pan once 

And straight became a Whig, sirs.' 

The construction of the words is un 
certain, since turn may be either active 
or neuter, and the derivation is not 
known. Johnson's Dictionary (La 
tham's edition) refers to it sub voce 
' cat,' but adds that it has probably no 
connexion with cat as an English word 
at all, but is a mistaken transforma 
tion of some misunderstood foreign 

1 carry it with more pleasure} i. e. 
probably, bear it or put up with it, 
where they would be displeased at a 
more direct statement. The Latin, 
however, gives rein ipsam majore cttni 
voluptate spargi ejficiunt. 



A sudden, bold, and unexpected question doth many 
times surprise a man, and lay him open. Like to him, 
that, having changed his name, and walking in Paul's, 
another suddenly came behind him and called him by his 
true name, whereas straightways he looked back. 

But these small wares and petty points of cunning are 
infinite, and it were a good deed to make a list of them ; 
for that nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning 
men pass for wise. 

10 But certainly some there are that know the resorts and 
falls k of business that cannot sink into the main of it ; like 
a house that hath convenient stairs and entries, but never 
a fair room : therefore you shall see them find out pretty 
looses in the conclusion, but are noways able to ex 
amine or debate matters : and yet commonly they take 
advantage of their inability, and would be thought wits 
of direction. Some build rather upon the abusing 1 of 
others, and (as we now say) putting tricks upon them, 
than upon soundness of their own proceedings : but 

20 Salomon saith, Prudens advertit ad gressus suos : stultus 
divertit ad dolos. 


. \ 

P. 158, 1. 4. can pack the cards &c.] Conf. 

'Thy cunning can but pack the cards, 
Thou cans't not play.' 

Quarles' Emblems, Bk. ii. Emb. 5, 1. 23. 

1. 13. in their own alley] A metaphor from the game of bowls, 
as elsewhere. Conf. ' False and corrupt servants ; which set a bias 
upon their bowl,' Essay 23 ; and in notes for advice to Buckingham : 
'You bowl well, if you do not horse your bowl an hand too much. 

k resorts and falls &c.] For an ex- them, but in new things, abuseth them.' 

planation of this passage, vide Notes Essay 42. ' The more subtile sort of 

and Illustrations to Essay. them ' (i. e. of fallacies) ' doth not only 

1 abusing} i. e. deceiving, Lat. in- put a man besides his answer, but 

nituntur dolts quos aliis struunt. Conf. doth many times abuse his judgment.' 

' The experience of age, in things that Works, iii. 393. 
fall within the compass of it, directeth 


You know the fine bowler is knee almost to ground in the delivery 
of the cast.' Letters and Life, vii. 445. 

1. 15. Mitte ambos &c.] Quoted, in the Apophthegms New and 
Old, as a saying of ' one of the philosophers.' Works, vii. 161. 

Diogenes Laertius ascribes it to Aristippus : 'Epcarydfis TTOTC rivt 

8in<pfpfi 6 (rofpos roG fj.f) <ro<pov ; f$i, Eis ayvatras TOVS dvo yv[J.vovs aTrocrTfi- 
\oi>, Kai firry. Lib. ii. sec. 73. 

1. 21. many wise men &c.] ' The discovery of a man's self by the 
tracts of his countenance is a great weakness and betraying.' Essay 
6, and note. 

1. 23. demure abasing of your eye] Conf. ' Le chapitre des Regulae 
Modestiae est particulierement curieux. Le membre de 1'Ordre ne doit 
pas remuer la tete de cote et d'autre, mais la porter avec gravite, et 
s'il n'y a pas de raison pour bouger, il doit la tenir droite, un peu 
inclinee en avant. II a habituellement les yeux baisses.' Scherer, 
Etudes sur la Litterature Contemporaine, vii. p. 299 : where he refers 
to Ravignan, De 1'existence et 1'institut des jesuites. 

P. 159, 1. 13. let him pretend] Conf. ' Some undertake suits with a full 
purpose to let them fall : to the end to gratify the adverse party, or 
competitor.' Essay 49. 

1. 24. as Nehemias did} Nehemiah, cap. ii. v. i. But we are not 
told that this was an artifice on Nehemiah's part. 

1. 30. as Narcissus did &c.] Messalina, the wife of the Emperor 
Claudius, had gone through the form of a regular marriage with 
Silius, her paramour. Narcissus, a freedman of the Emperor, 
wishing to make the fact known to him, ' duas pellices . . . largitione 
ac promissis . . . perpulit delationem subire. Exin Calpurnia (id pellici 
nomen), ubi datum secretum, Caesaris genibus provoluta nupsisse 
Messalinam Silio exclamat. Simul Cleopatram, quae idem opperiens 
adstabat, an comperisset interrogat, atque ilia adnuente cieri Nar- 
cissum postulat. Is veniam in praeteritum petens,' &c. Tac. Annals, 
xi. 29, 30. 

P. 160, 1. 18. I knew tivo c.] Mr. Wright accepts a suggestion from 
Mr. Spedding, that the two here referred to were probably Sir 
Robert Cecil and Sir Thomas Bodley. That they were competitors 
for the secretary's place in the later part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, 
is certain ; and since Cecil was the successful competitor, it is he 
who must have played the trick, if Bacon's story is to be believed. 
But we have abundant proof that Bacon was neither tender nor just 
to the memory of his ' little cousin.' Conf. Essay 44. 

P. 161, 1. 9. as Tigellinus did c.] The words are' Non se, ut 
Burrum, diversas spes, sed solam incolumitatem Neronis spectare.' 
Tacitus, Ann. xiv. 57. But this was said after the death of Barrus, 
and not therefore at Barrus, as Bacon seems to imply. 

P. 162, 1. 3. walking in Paul's] St. Paul's Cathedral was used in 

M 2 


Bacon's day as a general promenade and place of business and assig 
nation. Conf. ' It hapened that upon some bloodshed in the church of 
Paul's, according to the canon law yet with us in force, the said church 
was interdicted, and so the gates shut up for some few days ; where 
upon they published that because the said church is a place where 
people use to meet to walk and confer the Queen's Majesty, after the 
manner of the ancient tyrants, had forbidden all assemblies and 
meetings of people together, and for that reason upon extreme 
jealousy did cause Paul's gates to be shut up.' Letters and Life, i. 207. 

In Ben Jonson's ' Every man out of his humour,' Act iii, the opening 
scene is laid in the middle aisle of Paul's, and a lively picture is 
presented of the use to which the place was put. It was a 
customary place for hiring servants ; so Falstaff says of Bardolph : 
' I bought him in Paul's and he'll buy me a horse in Smithfield.' 
2 Henry IV, act i. sc. 2. 

Conf. also : ' My last to you was of the fourth or fifth of this 
present, since which time there hath been a very dull and dead term, 
or else I am quite out of the trade, which may well be, by reason of a 
new devised order to shut the upper doors in Paul's in service time, 
whereby the old intercourse is clean changed, and the traffic of news 
much decayed.' Chamberlain to Carleton, Nov. 19, 1602. 

Earle, in his Microcosmographie, chap. 52, headed ' Paul's Walk,' 
describes the cathedral at length as a ' heap of stones and men, and 
were the Steeple not sanctified nothing liker Babel. It is the great 
exchange of all discourse, and no business whatsoever but is here 
stirring and afoot. It is the Synod of all pates politic ... It is the 
general mint of all famous lies, which are here like the legends of 
Popery, first coined and stamped in the Church . . . The visitants 
are all men without exceptions, but the principal inhabitants and 
possessors are stale knights, captains out of service, men of long 
rapiers and breeches which after all turn merchants here, and traffic 
for news. Some make it a preface to their dinner, and travell for a 
stomacke, but thriftier men make it their ordinary and board here 
very cheap.' 

Conf. also : ' Early in the sixteenth century St. Paul's had been 
desecrated to such an extent as to become known rather as an 
exchange and house of merchandise than as a Church. Its central 
aisle, says Bishop Earle, resounded to a kind of still roar or loud 
whisper. The south alley, writes Decker in 1607, was the place for 
usury and popery, the north for simony, the horse-fair in the midst 
for all kind of bargains, meetings, brawlings, murders, conspiracies, 
and the font for ordinary payments of money . . . The middle aisle 
of the nave, called Paul's Walk or Duke Humphrey's walk, from the 
tomb there, was the fashionable promenade of London, and Paul's 
Walkers was the popular name for young men about town.' More 


is added or quoted to the same effect. Augustus Hare, Walks in 
London (1878), vol. i. p. 133. Conf. also Milman's Annals of St. 
Paul's, p. 284 et seqq. 

1. 10. resorts and falls} For the sense of resorts in this very 
obscure passage, conf. ' Such histories do rather set forth the pomp 
of business than the true inward resorts thereof.' Works, iii. 
334. In this passage, as in the text, resorts may stand for the 
springs or movements of the machinery, a sense which is borne out 
by the French trans, les ressorts. If resorts then are the springs or 
starting-points of the business, falls will be the conclusion of it, in 
which the persons here spoken of are said to find out pretty looses 
a phrase to which we shall presently return. For falls the French 
trans, gives issues. The main of business is certainly the body or 
solid part a term in frequent use with Bacon. Conf. e. g. ' I have 
broken the main of the Parliament business into questions and parts, 
which I send.' Letters and Life, vii. 155. 

We may look next at the simile which immediately follows. The 
house has convenient stairs and entries, that is to say there is a 
convenient way in, out, and about. These stairs and entries clearly 
correspond to the resorts and falls, so that those who know the 
resorts and falls must, if the simile is pressed, be taken to know their 
way into, out of, and about the business. But the house has never a 
fair room or resting place, thus illustrating the defect of those who 
cannot sink into the main of business, or, in other words, cannot 
examine or debate matters at due length. 

1. 14. Looses are lettings go, used especially of letting go a bow 
string or launching a dart. Conf. 'Air open and at large maketh no noise 
except it be sharply percussed ; as in the sound of a string, where 
air is percussed by a hard and stiff body, and with a sharp loose ; for 
if the string be not strained it maketh no noise.' Works, ii. 391. 
And, ' In throwing a dart or javelin, we force back our arms to make 
our loose the stronger.' Ben Jonson, Discoveries, under heading 
De stylo et Optimo scribendi genere. To find pretty looses in the 
conclusion should mean therefore to deliver good shots. It is a 
variant of knowing the falls of business. The Latin gives commodos 
quosdam exitus reperire. 

1. 16. wits of direction] i. e. Intellects specially fitted to direct 
and decide matters. Lat. ingenia quae ad decernendum potius quam 
disputandum sint aptiora. 

Bacon clearly intends to depreciate those whom he is describing ; 
hurriedness of judgment and a superficial show of ability to settle 
matters off-hand being the defects which he intends to fix upon them. 
But his chief simile is a bad one. There can be no great resemblance 
between a house with fair rooms, in which the inmate is to stay, and 
a debate on business, in which the object of the debaters is to 


proceed : so that the fault corresponding to the absence of a fair 
room is nothing to the matter in hand. Bacon really speaks as if 
deliberating were an end in itself, a thing to be undertaken at due 
length and with due attention on its own account, and not on account 
of the better judgment which we may think likely to come of it. But 
in a piece of writing where one metaphor of uncertain meaning is 
heaped upon another, and where the whole is confused by a faulty 
simile, it is not easy to fix the sense with any precision. I have done 
the best I can with it, the best that its want of exactness and the 
affected obscurity of its language have allowed me to do. If I am 
wrong in my interpretation I am in good company, for of the three 
contemporary translations, the Latin, the French, and the Italian, no 
two agree, so that at least two of them must be in error. 

Resorts and falls. Lat. periodos et pausas. 

Fr. les ressorts et issues. 

//. le riuscite e le cadute. 
Pretty looses. Lat. commodos quosdam exitus. 

Fr. quelques evasions mignardes. 

It. ingegnosi modi di scansare. 

Wits of direction. Lat. ingenia quae ad decernendum quam ad 

disputandum sint aptiora. 

Fr. 1'esprit et la subtilite mesme en toute 

//. ingegni di gran negotianti. 

1. 20. Salomon satfh] These words are quoted and amplified in 
the De Aug. Scient., Works, i. p. 766. Conf. also : ' All the world 
noted Sir Nicholas Bacon to be a man plain, direct, and constant, 
without all fineness or doubleness ; and one that was of the mind 
that a man in his private proceedings, and a state in the proceedings 
of state, should rest upon the soundness and strength of their own 
courses, and not upon practice to circumvent others ; according to 
the sentence of Salomon, "Vir prudens advertit ad gressus suos, 
stultus autem divertit ad dolos." ' Letters and Life, i. 202. 

The sentence ascribed to Solomon seems to be made up of two 
verses in the Proverbs very loosely quoted : 

' Sapientia callidi est intelligere viam suam : et imprudentia stul- 
torum errans.' xiv. 8. 

' Astutus considerat gressus suos.' v. 15. 



AN ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is a shrewd a 
thing in an orchard or garden : and certainly men that are 
great lovers of themselves waste the public. Divide with 
reason between self-love and society; and be so true to 
thyself as thou be not false to others, specially to thy king 
and country. It is a poor centre of a man's actions, him 
self. It is right earth b ; for that only stands fast upon his 
own centre ; whereas all things that have affinity with the 
heavens move upon the centre of another, which they 
benefit. The referring of all to a man's self is more 10 
tolerable in a sovereign prince, because themselves are 
not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the 
peril of the public fortune ; but it is a desperate evil in 
a servant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic ; for what 
soever affairs pass such a man's hands, he crooketh them 
to his own ends, which must needs be often eccentric to 
the ends of his master or state : therefore let princes or 
states choose such servants as have not this mark ; except 
they mean their service should be made but the accessary. 
That which maketh the effect more pernicious is, that all 20 
proportion is lost; it were disproportion enough for the 
servant's good to be preferred before the master's ; but yet 
it is a greater extreme, when a little good of the servant 
shall carry things against a great good of the master's : and 
yet that is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors, 
generals, and other false and corrupt servants ; which set 
a bias upon their bowl of their own petty ends and envies, 

a shrewd^\ i. e. evil, pernicious. Lat. 'Ah! foul shrewd news, beshrew 
nocivum. Fr. une chose pernicieuse . Conf. thy very heart.' 

'There are some shrewd contents in King John, v. 5. 

yon same paper 

That steal the colour from Bas- * Itis right earik\ Lat. rede terrestrem 

sanio's cheek.' naturam sapit. 

Merchant of Venice, i. 3. 


to the overthrow of their master's great and important 
affairs : and for the most part the good such servants 
receive is after the model of their own fortune ; but the 
hurt they sell for that good is after the model of their 
master's fortune : and certainly it is the nature of extreme 
self-lovers, as they will set a house on fire, and it were d 
but to roast their eggs; and yet these men many times 
hold credit with their masters because their study is but to 
please them, and profit themselves ; and for either respect 

10 they will abandon the good of their affairs. 

Wisdom for a man's self is, in many branches thereof, 
a depraved thing : it is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure 
to leave a house somewhat before it fall : it is the wisdom 
of the fox, that thrusts out the badger who digged and 
made room for him : it is the wisdom of crocodiles, that 
shed tears when they would devour. But that which, is 
specially to be noted is that those which (as Cicero says 
of Pompey) are sui amantes, sine rivali, are many times 
unfortunate ; and whereas they have all their time sacri- 

20 ficed to themselves, they become in the end themselves 
sacrifices to the inconstancy of fortune, whose wings they 
thought by their self- wisdom to have pinioned e . 


On the early part of this Essay conf. 'There is another part of this 
part which differeth as much from that whereof we have spoken as 
sapere and sibi sapere, the one moving as it were to the circumference, 

c the model] i. e. scale or measure. disse. But the more common sense of 

Conf. ' According to my small model.' the word is to have tied down a 

Essay 3, and note. sense equally well suited to the text. 

d and it were] i.e. ' an or if it were.' Conf. e. g. 

So Bacon begins some of his speeches : 'Go, seek the traitor Gloster, 

' And it please you, Mr. Speaker.' Pinion him like a thief, bring him 

Letters and Life, ii. 85 ; iii. 335. Conf. before us.' 

also, ' Fortune is to be honoured and King Lear, iii. 7. 

respected, and it be but for her And, 

daughters, Confidence and Reputation.' ' Master Ford, you are not to go 

Essay 40. loose any longer ; you must be 

6 to have pinioned^ i.e. to have pinioned.' 

clipped, if we follow the Latin, praeci- Merry Wives of Windsor, iv. a. 


the other to the centre. For there is a wisdom of counsel, and again 
there is a wisdom of pressing a man's own fortune ; and they do 
sometimes meet, and often sever. For many are wise in their own 
ways that are weak for government or counsel ; like ants, which is 
a wise creature for itself, but very hurtful for the garden.' Works, 
iii. 454. 

P. 167, 1. 7. that only stands fast upon his own centre] This is Bacon's 
repeatedly expressed belief. Conf. De Aug. Scient. bk. iii : ' Motum 
terrae diurnum, quod nobis constat falsissimum esse.' Works, i. p. 
552 ; and bk. iv : ' Constat similiter sententiam Copernici de Rotatione 
Terrae . . . ab Astronomicis Principiis non posse revinci : a Naturalis 
tamen Philosophiae principiis, recte positis, posse.' Works, i. p. 
580. The subject is discussed at length in the Descriptio Globi 
Intellectualis, Works, iii. 740 et seq., and in the Thema Coeli : 'Terra 
itaque stante (id enim nunc nobis videtur verius), manifestum est 
coelum motu diurno circumferri,' &c. Works, iii. 773. 

1. 9. which they benefit] Conf. de Aug. Scient. vii. 2 : ' Etenim in 
universitate rerum, natura coelestis praecipue agens est, at natura 
terrestris patiens.' Works, i. 722. And, ' Magnitudo inferiorum non 
habet comparationem ad coelestia, similiter nee utilitas. Quia tota 
utilitas inferiorum causatur ex superioribus. Duplex enim allatio 
solis sub obliquo circulo cum aspectibus planetarum est causa 
omnium quae fiunt hie inferius.' R. Bacon, Opus Majus, p. 112, 
Jebb's edition, folio. 

1. 26. set a bias upon their bowl] The bias is a piece of lead 
inserted at one side of the bowl and deflecting it from the straight 
course. Conf. 

' Madam we'll play at bowls : 

Queen. t'will make me think 

The world is full of rubs, and that my fortune 
Runs 'gainst the bias.' Richard II, iii. 4. 

And, ' O thou ! of business the directing soul 
To this our head, like bias to the bowl. 
Which, as more ponderous, makes its aim more true, 
Obliquely waddling to the mark in view.' 

Dunciad, i. 169. 

P. 168, 1. 12. wisdom of rats'] Lat. soricum. Conf. 'When an house is 
readie to tumble down, the mice goe out of it before ; and first of all 
the spiders with their webs fall down.' Pliny, N. H. bk. viii. cap. 28 : 
' Ubi domus aliqua consenuit et ruinam minatur, mures primi sen- 
tiunt, et celerrime fugientes aliud domicilium quaerunt.' Gesner, 
Hist. Animalium, vol. i. p. 716. De Mure, sec. D. ed. 2nd, fol. 1620. 
Gesner includes the ' rattus ' under the generic name ' mus.' 

1. 14. of the fox] ' (Vulpes) habitat in foveis, quas ipsa tamen non 


parat, sed a taxo, id est mele, effossas, dolo occupat. Illo enim 
absente, aditum suum excremento inquinat. Reversus ille, foedi 
odoris impatiens, foveam suam deserit, quam mox vulpes inhabitat.' 
Gesner, Hist. Animalium, vol. i. p. 957. De Vulpe, sec. D. ed. 2nd, 
fol. 1620. 

Buffon confirms this. Conf. ' Le blaireau ... a plus de facilite 
qu'un autre pour ouvrir la terre, y fouiller, y penetrer, et jeter 
derriere lui les deblais de son excavation, qu'il rend tortueuse, 
oblique, et qu'il pousse quelquefois fort loin. Le renard, qui n'a 
pas la meme facilite pour creuser la terre, profite de ses travaux : 
ne pouvant le contraindre par la force, il 1'oblige par 1'adresse a 
quitter son domicile en 1'inquietant, en faisant sentinelle a 1'entree, 
en 1'infectant meme de ses ordures ; ensuite il s'en empare, 1'elargit, 
1'approprie, et en fait son terrier.' Histoire Naturelle, Animaux 
Carnassiers, Le blaireau. 

1. 15. of crocodiles] Those who are curious about this mediaeval 
myth will find a very full account of it in a tract entitled ' Disputatio 
Physica de lacrymis crocodili quam publice submittit praeses M. 
Gothofredus Voigt, respondente Joachimo Dornero' (1666). I ex 
tract the following: 'Objiciunt autem vulgatum illud proverbium : 
lacrymae crocodili. Cui addunt alii emblemata varia. Sic Aresius 
haeredem avidum, sed mortem defuncti lugentem, descripturus, 
crocodilum hominem devorantem pingit, hoc addito lemmate : plorat 
et devorat. Vid. Masenius, Spec. Imaginum verit. occult. 1. 5, c. 9, p. 
504, n. 22. Camerarius Cent. iv. Embl. 67 eodem utitur in amico 
fucato delineando, cum hac epigraphe : 

Non equidem ambigui dictis mihi fidere amid 
Cerium est, ut lacrymis nee crocodile tuts. 

Pertinent hue comparationes a lacrymis crocodili ductae, de quibus vid. 
Piccartus Dec. xiii. c. i. Drexel, in Phaeth. c. 46, in Aurifod, part 2, 
c. 4 : " Itemque hieroglyphica, schemate crocodili hypocritam deline- 
antia." Vid. Pierius in Hieroglyph, miscell. p. 118.' I have not veri 
fied the above references. 

The myth appears in a variety of different forms, sometimes as 
sober matter of fact, sometimes as an illustration. Conf. e.g. 'Si 
aliquando inveniat hominem, comedit eum si vincere potest, et postea 
eum semper plorat.' Hugo de S. Victore, De Bestiis, lib. ii. cap. 8. 

' Gloster's show 

Beguiles him, as the mournful crocodile 
With sorrow snares relenting passengers.' 

2 Henry VI, iii. i. 

' It is written that the crocodile will weep over a man's head when 
he hath devoured the body, and then he will eat up the head too. 
Wherefore in Latin there is a proverbe : crocodili lachrymae, to 


signify such tears as are fained and spent only with intent to deceive 
or do harm.' Bullokar, English Expositor ; sub voce crocodile. 

' The crocodile's tears are never true, save when he is forced where 
saffron groweth . . . knowing himself to be all poison and it all 
antidote.' Fuller, Worthies, vol. i. p. 493 (ed. in 3 vols., London, 
1840). ' It not only eats men, whom it weeps to see approaching, and 
then devours them (from whence comes that proverb, a Crocodile's 
Tears), but also other creatures whose fate it is to come near the 
river.' Baumgarten's Travels, bk. i. cap. 16. 

It is given in the Erasmi Adagia sub tit. Crocodili lachrymae : and is 
explained, ' de iis qui sese simulant graviter angi incommodo cujus- 
piam, cui perniciem attulerint ipsi, cuive magnum aliquod malum 
moliantur. Sunt qui scribant crocodilum, conspecto procul homine, 
lachrymas emittere atque eundem mox devorare . . . Alii narrant 
hanc esse crocodili naturam . . . reliquo devorato corpore, caput 
lachrymis effusis macerat, itaque devorat hoc quoque.' 

1. 17. as Cicero says &c.] ' O Dii, quam ineptus ! quam se ipse 
amans sine rivali.' Epist. ad Quintum Fratrem, lib. iii. 8. 

So Horace : 

' Nullum ultra verbum aut operam insumebat inanem 
Quin sine rivali teque et tua solus amares.' 

Epist. ad Pisones, 443. 


As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shapen, 
so are all innovations, which are the births of time ; yet 
notwithstanding, as those that first bring honour into their 
family are commonly more worthy than most that succeed, 
so the first precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by 
imitation ; for ill to man's nature as it stands perverted, 
hath a natural motion strongest in continuance; but good, 
as a forced motion strongest at first. Surely every medi 
cine is an innovation, and he that will not apply new 
remedies must expect new evils ; for time is the greatest 10 


innovator ; and if time of course a alter things to the 
worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to 
the better, what shall be the end ? It is true, that what 
is settled by custom, though it be not good, yet at least 
it is fit ; and those things which have long gone together, 
are as it were confederate b within themselves ; whereas 
new things piece not so well ; but though they help by 
their utility, yet they trouble by their inconformity : beside, 
they are like strangers, more admired and less favoured c . 
All this is true if time stood still ; which contrariwise 
moveth so round d that a froward retention of custom is 
as turbulent a thing as an innovation ; and they that 
reverence too much old times are but a scorn to the new. 
It were good therefore that men in their innovations 
would follow the example of time itself, which indeed 
innovateth greatly, but quietly and by degrees scarce to be 
perceived ; for otherwise e , whatsoever is new is unlocked 
for ; and ever it mends some and pairs f other ; and he 

a time of course] i. e. time by its that they be repressed in any insolency, 

course. Lat. decursu solo. which may tend either to disquiet the 

b confederate &c.] i. e. well fitted to civil estate, or to scandalize our Church 

each other, working well together. in fact, for otherwise all their doctrine 

Lat. foedere quodam conjuncta. doth it in opinion.' Letters and Life, 

c less favoured ] Lat. minus benevo- viL 449. And, ' Brutus boldly asked 

lentia prosequimur. him what he was, a god or a man, and 

d moveth so round] i. e. so moveth what cause brought him thither. The 

round. Lat. in orbem agitatur. spirit aunswered him, I am thy evill 

e for otherwise] The Latin gives spirit, Brutus, and thou shalt see me 

illud enim pro certo habeas. The word by the citie of Philippes. Brutus, 

otherwise does not seem to be used being no otherwise afraid, replied 

here in its ordinary sense. Whatever againe unto it, Well, then, I shall see 

is new will, as the Latin declares, be thee againe.' North's Plutarch, p. 

unlocked for in any case. I incline, 1006. It seems clear, here, that 

therefore, to take otherwise as equal Brutus was not afraid at all, in one 

here to in any wise. Bacon so uses it wise or in another. The original is 

elsewhere. ' This colour is to be un- ov StarapaxOtis- 

derstood ot gradus inceptionis a potentia * pairs] i.e. impairs, injures. Lat. 

ad actitm, comparatus cum gradu ab fiuic adjicere aliquid, illi eripere. Conf. 

actu ad incretnentum. For otherwise ' No faith so fast, quoth she, but 

major videtur gradus ab impotentia ad flesh does paire, 

potentiam, quant a potentia ad actunt.' Flesh may empaire, quoth he, but 

Works, vii. 92. Conf. also, ' But three reason can repaire.' 

things must be looked into. The one, Fairie Queene, bk. i. canto 7. stanza 41. 


that is holpen takes it for a fortune and thanks the time ; 
and he that is hurt, for a wrong, and imputeth it to the 
author. It is good also not to try experiments in states, 
except the necessity be urgent or the utility evident ; and 
well to beware g that it be the reformation that draweth on 
the change, and not the desire of change that pretendeth h 
the reformation ; and lastly, that the novelty, though it 
be not rejected, yet be held for a suspect ; and, as the 
Scripture saith, That we make a stand upon the ancient way, 
and then look about us, and discover what is the straight and 
right way, and so to walk in it. 


P. 171, 1. 3. as those that first bring honour &c.] What this is 
intended to illustrate may be seen from a passage in the Antitheta. 
Works, i. 704 : ' Sicut qui nobilitatem in familiam introducunt 
digniores fere sunt posteris ; ita novitates rerum plerumque praestant 
iis quae ad exempla fiunt.' The sense therefore is that, as originals 
are better than copies, so the first results of an innovation, ill-shapen 
as it always is, are commonly better than those which come after 
wards when the innovation has been followed as a precedent and has 
thus become a settled rule. Innovations are said to be necessary, 
because circumstances change and because the tendency of things is, 
in Bacon's opinion, ever to the worse, so that from time to time some 
special remedy becomes requisite. The illustration implies that the 
' first precedent 'the changed rule had some greater merit of its 
own at first than afterwards. The argument, however, is that it has 
ceased to be as applicable as it was, so that to carry it out in practice 
does not bring about the same good results as formerly. The argu 
ment would be clear, if it were not obscured by the illustration. 

For the alleged tendency of things to the worse and for the agency 
of time in bringing this about, conf. e. g. ' The nature of men, as of all 
worldly things also, is most slippery and unconstant, running still 
headlong from good to evil and from evil to worse.' Bodin, Common 
weal, iv. 2 (Knolles' trans.). 

g to beware] For this use of beware, h that pretendeift] This word may 

with a positive rule immediately fol- mean either to serve as a reason for or 

lowing, conf. ' Only men must beware to serve as an excuse for. Conf. Essay 

that they carry their anger rather with 29, p. 210. The Lat. praetexat ties it 

scorn than with fear.' Essay 57. down to the latter sense. 


' Who knoweth not that time is truly compared to a stream, that 
carrieth down fresh and pure waters into that salt sea of corruption 
that environeth all human actions ? And therefore if man shall not 
by his industry, virtue and policy, as it were with the oar, row against 
the stream and inclination of time, all institutions and ordinances, be 
they never so pure, will corrupt and degenerate.' Letters and Life, 
iii. 105. And, ' Cursus naturae continuus, instar fluminis labentis, 
etiam continua indiget remigatione vel velificatione in adversum.' 
Works, ii. 224. Probably imitated from Virgil : 

' Sic omnia fatis 

In pejus ruere, ac retro sublapsa referri : 
Non aliter quam qui adverse vix flumine lembum 
Remigiis subigit, si brachia forte remisit, 
Atque ilium in praeceps prono rapit alveus amni.' 

Georg. i. 199-203. 
'Quotidie est deterior posterior dies.' 

Publii Syri, Fragmenta, 1. 59. 

1. 7. natural motion] e.g. the continually accelerated fall of a 
heavy body. 

1. 8. forced motion] e. g. the flight of an arrow, continually less 
rapid and finally ceasing. 

On the distinction which Bacon makes here, he speaks elsewhere 
in terms of contemptuous condemnation. He says, e.g. in the De 
Principiis atque Originibus : ' Schola enim communis satis habet, si 

motum naturalem a violento distinguat Verum parum profi- 

ciunt ad philosophiam hujusmodi speculationes. Ista enim natura, 
ars, violentia, compendia verborum sunt et nugae.' Works, iii. 118. 

And again, in the Thema Coeli : ' Sunt itaque axiomata sive potius 
placita nonnulla, quae a philosophis accepta, et in astronomiam 
translata, et male credita, artem corruperunt. Simplex autem erit 
rejectio et judicium nostrum, neque enim tempus refutationibus terere 

convenit. Horum tertium est quod singulis corporibus natura- 

Hbus singuli competant motus proprii ; et si plures inveniantur 
motus, omnes excepto uno sint aliunde, et ex movente aliquo 
separate. Quo falsius quicquid nee excogitari potest, cum universa 
corpora ex multiplici rerum consensu motibus etiam pluribus prae- 

dita sint ; proprii autem rerum motus nulli sint nisi mensurae 

exactae et modi motuum communium.' Works, iii. 777. 

P. 172, 1. ii. froward retention c.] Conf. ' Of the servile expressing 
antiquity in an unlike and an unfit subject, it is well said, " Quod 
tempore antiquum videtur, id incongruitate est maxime novum." ' 
Works, iii. p. 402. 

1. 15. the example of time itself] Conf. ' We ought then in the 
government of a well ordered estate and commonweale, to imitate 
and follow the great God of nature, who in all things proceedeth 


easily and little by little, who of a little seed causeth to grow a tree 
for height and greatnesse right admirable, and yet for all that 
insensibly.' Bodin, Commonweal, bk. iv. cap. 3 (Knolles' trans.). 

P. 173, 1. 8. as the scripture saith~\ Jeremiah vi. 16. Given in the Ad 
vancement of Learning, as supplying a rule for dealing with novelty 
in science : State super vias antiquas, et videte quaenam sit via recta et 
bona, et ambulate in ea. Works, iii. p. 290. 



AFFECTED dispatch a is one of the most dangerous things 
to business that can be : it is like that which the physicians 
call predigestion, or hasty digestion, which is sure to fill 
the body full of crudities and secret seeds of diseases. 
Therefore measure not dispatch by the times of sitting, 
but by the advancement of the business : and as in races, 
it is not the large stride or high lift b that makes the speed ; 
so in business, the keeping close to the matter, and not 
taking of it too much at once, procureth dispatch. It is 
the care of some only to come off speedily for the time c , 
or to contrive some false periods d of business, because e 
they may seem men of dispatch : but it is one thing to 
abbreviate by contracting f , another by cutting off; and 
business so handled at several sittings or meetings goeth 
commonly backward and forward in an unsteady manner. 

Affected dispatch] Lat. celeritas profess to include the whole needful 

nimia et affectata a gloss rather than matter, but which do not include it. 
a translation. 6 because} i. e. in order that. Lat. 

b high lift\ Lat. pedum elevatione quo. Conf. ' Because they may be 

altiore. thought so much the richer.' Essay 8. 

c for the time] i. e. if we follow the f contracting] i.e. bringing the matter 

Latin, ' in proportion to the time taken.' to a point. Lat. contrahendo. This 

Curae est nonnullis illud tantum, ut seems to be the ' abbreviation ' which 

brevi tempore multum confecissc vide- Bacon approves, as opposed to ' cutting 

antur. off' or leaving out parts requiring to 

ll false periods] i. e. divisions which be considered. 


I knew a wise man that had it for a by-word, when he saw 
men hasten to a conclusion, Stay a little, that we may make 
an end the sooner. 

On the other side, true dispatch is a rich thing; for 
time is the measure of business, as money is of wares ; 
and business is bought at a dear hand 8 where there is 
small dispatch. The Spartans and Spaniards have been 
noted to be of small dispatch : Mi venga la muerte de 
Spagna; Let my death come from Spain; for then it will 

10 be sure to be long in coming. 

Give good hearing to those that give the first informa 
tion in business, and rather direct them in the beginning 
than interrupt them in the continuance of their speeches ; 
for he that is put out of his own order will go forward and 
backward, and be more tedious while he waits upon his 
memory than he could have been if he had gone on in his 
own course ; but sometimes it is seen that the moderator h 
is more troublesome than the actor. 

Iterations are commonly loss of time ; but there is no 

20 such gain of time as to iterate often the state of the ques 
tion ; for it chaseth away many a frivolous speech as it is 
coming forth. Long and curious speeches are as fit for 
dispatch as a robe or mantle with a long train is for race. 
Prefaces, and passages 1 , and excusations, and other 

B at a dearlmnd~\ i. e. at a dear rate. Et redit in nihilum quod fuit ante nihil. 

Lat. magno. Conf. ' If a man will keep It began of nothing, and in nothing 
but of even hand, his ordinary expences it ends.' 

ought to be but to the half of his re- Burton, Anat. of Melanc. part i. sec. i. 

ceipts.' Essay 28. Mem. ii. subsec. 9. And, ' The honour- 

h moderator] i. e. he who presides ablest part of talk is to give the oc- 

to direct and judge : actor, i. e. the casion ; and again to moderate and 

speaker. Lat. orator. Fr. Le modera- pass to somewhat else. ' Essay 32. 

teur est plus facheux que les disputans. So, at the Hampton Court controversy, 

Conf. ' Leo Decimus, that Epicurean the president and judge, King James, 

Pope, as some record of him, caused is termed the Moderator. Fuller, 

this question (of the immortality of the Church Hist. bk. x. sec. i. para. 20. 
soul to be discussed pro and COM. before * passages] Lat. transitiones a ques- 

him, and concluded at last, as a pro- tionable rendering, and not suiting 

phane and atheistical moderator, with with the context. The word more 

that verse of Cornelius Callus, probably means sentences worked into 



speeches of reference to the person, are great wastes of 
time ; and though they seem to proceed of modesty, they 
are bravery k . Yet beware of being too material 1 when 
there is any impediment or obstruction in men's wills ; for 
pre-occupation of mind ever requireth preface of speech, 
like a fomentation to make the unguent enter. 

Above all things, order and distribution and singling 
out of parts is the life of dispatch ; so as the distribution 
be not too subtile : for he that doth not divide will never 
enter well into business ; and he that divideth too much "> 
will never come out of it clearly. To choose time is to 
save time, and an unseasonable motion is but beating the 
air. There be three parts of business : the preparation ; 
the debate, or examination ; and the perfection. Whereof, 
if you look for dispatch, let the middle only be the work 
of many, and the first and last the work of few. The pro 
ceeding upon somewhat conceived in writing doth for the 
most part facilitate dispatch ; for though it should be wholly 
rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of direction 
than an indefinite, as ashes are more generative than dust. 20 


P. 175, 1. 10. to come off speedily &c.] Bacon in his speech on 
taking his seat in Chancery explains and illustrates the dispatch 
which he approves and which he disapproves. ' I have seen an 
affectation of dispatch turn utterly to delay and length : for the 
manner of it is to take the tale out of the counsellor at the bar his 
mouth, and to give a cursory order, nothing tending or conducing to 
the end of the business. It makes me remember what I heard one 

the speech, and (as the context shows) 
referring to the speaker himself. Conf. 
' Though he had fine passages of 
action ' (i. e. of speech, vide supra 
' actor ') ' yet the real conclusions 
came slowly on.' Letters and Life, 
iv. 280. 

k bravery] i. e. ostentation. Lat. 
gloriolae captatrices. Ital. ostentatione. 

1 being too material] i. e. coming too 
soon and abruptly to the real matter 

or point. Lat. sed cave ne in rem 
ipsam ab initio descendas, cum, &c. So 
Bacon notes among the rules for his 
own guidance, ' Not to fall upon the 
mayne too soudayne, but to induce 
and intermingle speach of good fashon.' 
Letters and Life, iv. 93. For material 
= to the point, conf. ' Men can write 
best and most really and materially in 
their own professions.' Works, iii. p. 


say of a Judge that sat in Chancery, that he would make eighty 
orders in a morning, out of the way, and it was out of the way indeed, 
for it was nothing to the end of the business . . . But I mean not to 
purchase the praise of expeditive in that kind ; but . . . my en 
deavour shall be to hear patiently and to cast my order into such a 
mould as may soonest bring the subject to the end of his journey.' 
Letters and Life, vi. 190. 

P. 176, 1. 1. a wise man] ' Sir Amice Pawlet, when he saw too much 
haste made in any matter, was wont to say, Stay a while that we may 
make an end the sooner.' Apophth., New and Old, Works, vii. 136. 

Conf. Montaigne : ' En precipitation festinatio tarda esf, la hastivete 
se donne elle mesme la jambe, s'entrave et s'arreste, ipsa se velocitas 
implicat' Essays, bk. iii. chap. 10. 

1. 7. Spartans] Vid. speech of Corinthians to Lacedaemonians : *ctu 
\LT\V KCU &OKVOI irpos /neXX^ras, Thucyd. i. 70 ; and in cap. 7* ^XP 1 M >I; 
ovv ToCde a>picr6(i> vpatv rj ppaSvrtjs : also speech of Archidamus : KOI TO 

Ppa8v KOI fj.f\\ov t 6 /naXicrra vfj.S>v, pr) aiar)(vvecrde. Thucyd. i. 84. 

So too in speech of Rhodians to the Roman Senate: 'Atheniensium 
populum fama est celerem et supra vires audacem esse ad 
conandum. Lacedaemoniorum cunctatorem et vix in ea quibus fidit 

1. 7. Spaniards] Report of speeches by Earls of Salisbury and 
Northampton concerning the petition of the merchants upon the 
Spanish grievances. ' All which have made the delays of Spain to 
come into a byeword through the world. Wherein I think his 
Lordship mought allude to the proverb of Italy, " Mi venga la morte 
di Spagna," let my death come from Spain ; for then it is sure to be 
long a coming.' Letters and Life, iii. 351. 

Bacon in the Essay strangely builds the Spanish muerfe for morte 
and de for di into a proverb which is Italian for the rest. 

P. 177, 1. 9. not too subtile] Conf. Essay 26, where Bacon speaks of 
subtilty as one of the arts employed for the intentional frustration of 
business, and illustrates the absurdity of it by the case of Prodicus. 

1. 15. let the middle only &c.] Conf. A memorial for his Majesty: 
' His council shall perceive by that which his majesty shall now 
communicate with them, that the mass of his business is continually 
prepared in his own royal care and cogitations, howsoever he 
produceth the same to light and to act per opera dierum' Letters and 
Life, v. 349. 

Conf. also end of Essay 47 : 'In all negotiations of difficulty a man 
must not look to sow and reap at once but must prepare business 
and so ripen it by degrees.' 

1. 16. the last be the work of few] This agrees with the rule in 
Essay 20 on Council, ' that they (Kings) suffer not their council to go 
through with the resolution and direction as if it depended on them ; 



but take the matter back into their own hands.' The reason given is 
different, but the result is the same. 

1. 20. as ashes are more generative than dust~\ Bacon in his 
Natural History speaks of both these : ' The third help of ground is, 
by some other substances that have a virtue to make ground fertile, 
though they be not merely earth : wherein ashes excel.' 

' It is strange, which is observed by some of the ancients, that dust 
helpeth the fruitfulness of trees and of vines by name : insomuch as 
they cast dust upon them of purpose.' Works, ii. pp. 525, 546. 

Pliny is an authority for the use of both, and for the excellence 
attributed to ashes : ' Transpadanis cineris usus adeo placet ut ante- 
ponant fimo jumentorum ; quod quia levissimum est ob id exurunt. 
Sunt qui pulvere quoque uvas ali judicent, pubescentesque pulve- 
rent, et vitium arborumque radicibus aspergant.' Historia Naturalis, 
lib. 17. sec. 5. 



IT hath been an opinion that the French are wiser than 
they seem, and .the Spaniards seem wiser than they are ; 
but howsoever it be between nations, certainly it is so be 
tween man and man ; for as the apostle saith of godliness, 
Having a show of godliness, but denying the power thereof; 
so certainly there are, in point of wisdom and sufficiency a , 
that do nothing or little very solemnly; magno conatu nu- 
gas. It is a ridiculous thing and fit for a satire to persons 
of judgment, to see what shifts these formalists have, and 
what prospectives b to make superficies to seem body that 10 

a sufficiency] i. e. ability. Conf. ' I 
can challenge to myself no sufficiency, 
but that I was diligent and reasonable 
happy to execute those directions 
which I received.' Letters and Life, 
iii. 294. 

b prospectives] i. e. probably ' per 
spective glasses.' The word is used 
by Bacon sometimes, seemingly as in 
the text, of glasses that make super 

ficies appear solid : ' Such superficial 
speculations they have, like prospec 
tives, that show things inward, when 
they are but paintings.' Works, ii. 
381. Sometimes of glasses for looking 
at distant objects : ' I ... do intend to 
present unto your Majesty a perfect 
book of your estate, like a prospective 
glass, to draw your estate nearer to 
your sight.' Letters and Life, vi. 453. 

N 2 


hath depth and bulk. Some are so close and reserved as 
they will not show their wares but by a dark light, and 
seem always to keep back somewhat; and when they 
know within themselves they speak of that they do not 
well know, would nevertheless seem to others to know of 
that which they may not well speak. Some help them 
selves with countenance and gesture, and are wise by 
signs; as Cicero saith of Piso, that when he answered 
him he fetched one of his brows up to his forehead, and 
10 bent the other down to his chin; Responses, altero ad 
frontem sublafo, altero ad mentum depresso supercilio; cru- 
delitatem tibi non placere. Some think to bear it c by 
speaking a great word and being peremptory; and go on 
and take by admittance that which they cannot make 
good. Some, whatsoever is beyond their reach, will seem 
to despise or make light of it as impertinent or curious d : 
and so would have their ignorance seem judgment. Some 
are never without a difference, and commonly by amusing 
men with a subtilty, blanch the matter 6 ; of whom A. Gel- 

But it is obvious to remark that to in- c think to bear if] i. e. to bear the 

terpret 'prospectives' as perspective matter out. Lat. se valere putant. 

glasses, does not quite suit the pas- d impertinent or curious\ i. e. irrele- 

sages in the Essay and in the Natural vant or too far out of the common way, 

History. It is not the formalists but over-elaborate. Conf. ' So as these 

their intended dupes who should have predictions are now impertinent.' 

the prospectives, if perspective glasses Works, iii. 380. Praesentis non sunt 

are meant. The superficial specula- instituti. Works, i. 607. And, 

tions are not like perspective glasses ; ' T'were to consider too curiously to 

it is by perspective glasses that they consider so.' 

would be shown. The Latin transla- Hamlet, act v. sc. i. 

tion gives et quali utuntur arte quasi e blanch the matter] Lat. rent praeter- 

prospectivd. The Italian is e che pros- vehuntur. Fr. effaceront les matieres. 

pettive faccino d far purer le superfine Ital. si scansano dal negotio. Blanch 

come corpo. These suggest the modern is explained in Murray's New English 

sense of perspective, as if the word in Dictionary as a variant of blench. To 

the text meant tricks of producing pass without notice, to omit, are given 

an effect like that of drawings in per- among the transitive senses of the 

spective. In Bacon's English and in word. So, in the Adv. of Learning : 

Italian prospective and perspective are ' It is over-usual to blanch the obscure 

used interchangeably. The edition of places and discourse upon the plain." 

1612 reads perspectives for the pro- Works, iii. 414. Some other autho- 

spectives of 1625. rities take blanch, in this sense, as a 



lius saith, Hominetn delirum, qui verborum minutiis rerum 
frangit pondera. Of which kind also Plato, in his Prota 
goras, bringeth in Prodicus in scorn, and maketh him 
make a speech that consisteth of distinctions from the 
beginning to the end. Generally such men in all de 
liberations find ease to be of the negative side, and affect 
a credit to object f and foretell difficulties; for when pro 
positions are denied there is an end of them ; but if they 
be allowed g it requireth a new work : which false point of 
wisdom is the bane of business. To conclude, there is no 10 
decaying merchant or inward beggar h hath so many tricks 
to uphold the credit of their wealth as these empty persons 
have to maintain the credit of their sufficiency. Seeming 
wise men may make shift to get opinion ; but let no man 
choose them for employment; for certainly, you were 
better take 1 for business a man somewhat absurd k than 

derivative of blanch to make white. 
If so, to blanch the matter will be to 
put it out of sight, and, as it were, to 
erase it and leave a blank in its stead ; 
to blanch the obscure places will be to 
treat them as if the passages were 
blanks. Blanch, to make white, is 
certainly a word which Bacon uses 
elsewhere : ' It is an offence horrible 
and odious, and cannot be blanched 
nor made fair, but foul.' Letters and 
Life, iv. 272. 

' affect a credit to object &c.] i. e. at 
tempt to get credit by objecting. Lat. 
existimationem aucupantur ex scrupulis 
et difficultatibus proponendis et praedi- 

g allowed] i. e. approved, accepted. 
Lat. sin probatur. Conf. ' That young 
men travel under some tutor or grave 
servant, I allow well.' Essay 18, 
and passim. 

h inward beggar] i. e. a beggar in 
point of fact, but not known to be 
such. Lat. decoder rei familiaris oc- 

' you were better take &c.] So, in 
Essay 27 : 'A man were better relate 
himself to a statua or picture.' And, 
'A judge were better be a briber than a 
respecter of persons.' Works, iii. 450. 

k absurd] probably blunt and rough 
in manner. The word occurs three 
times in the Essays. In Essay 6 ' an 
absurd silence ' seems to mean a rough- 
mannered refusal to answer ; since 
silence has nothing in it absurd in the 
ordinary sense of the word. In the 
passage in the text, the contrast pre 
sumably is between the over-formal 
man, too perfect in compliments and 
too full of respects, and the man who 
is negligent of them to a fault. In 
Essay 47 froward and ' absurd are 
joined as epithets of the same men, 
and as qualities fitting them to nego- 
ciate business that doth not well bear 
itself out. Bacon's ' absurd ' seems to 
be a Latinism, as many of his words 
are. Giving a disagreeable sound, 
harsh, rough, rude, are among the 
primary senses of absurdus. 



P. 179, 1. 4. as the apostle saith] 2 Tim. iii. 5. 

1. 7. magno conatu nugas] Heauton. iii. 5, 8. 

1. 9. these formalists &c.] Bacon is probably making special 
allusion here to Sir Henry Hobart and to the Earl of Salisbury. 
Conf. ' The attorney (i.e. Sir Henry Hobart) sorteth not so well with 
his present place, being a man timid and scrupulous both in parlia 
ment and in other business, and one that in a word was made fit for 
the late Lord Treasurer's bent, which was to do little with much 
formality and protestation, whereas the now solicitor (i. e. Bacon 
himself) going more roundly to work,' &c. Letters and Life, iv. 

P. 180, 1. 3. when they know within themselves &c.] The following 
passage is a good instance in point : ' It is certain that we had in 
use at one time, for sea fight, short arrows, which they called sprights, 
without any other heads save wood sharpened : which were dis 
charged out of muskets, and would pierce through the sides of ships 
where a bullet would not pierce. But this dependeth upon one of 
the greatest secrets in all nature; which is, that similitude of 
substance will cause attraction where the body is wholly freed from 
the motion of gravity : for if that were taken away lead would draw 
lead, and gold would draw gold, and iron would draw iron, without 
the help of the loadstone. But this same motion of weight or gravity 
(which is a mere motion of matter and hath no affinity with the form 
or kind) doth kill the other motion, except itself be killed by a violent 
motion ; as in these instances of arrows ; for then the motion of 
attraction by similitude of substance beginneth to show itself. But 
we shall handle this point of nature fully in due place.' The story 
about the arrows or sprights is a sea-yarn told by Sir Richard 
Hawkins. The philosophical explanation of it as ' one of the greatest 
secrets in all nature ' is Bacon's own. Works, ii. 564. 

1. 8. as Cicero saith\ In Pisonem, end of cap. 6. 

1. 19. A. Genius'] We learn from a passage in the Advancement 
of Learning that Bacon was aware that it was about Seneca that 
these words or something like them had been used. 'As was said 
of Seneca, 

" Verborum minutiis rerum frangit pondera." ' 

Works, iii. 286. 

Now, the comments of Aulus Gellius on the style and matter of 
Seneca are found in the Noctes Atticae, xii. cap. 2. He is termed 
' nugator homo ' verborum Senecae piget : inepti et insubidi et insulsi 
hominis joca non praeteribo, &c. But the words in Bacon's text do 
not occur. The nearest approach to them is in the better balanced 
and more considered censure of Quintilian : ' Si non omnia sua 


amasset; si rerum pondera minutissimis sententiis non Fregisset, 
consensu potius eruditorum quam puerorum amore comprobaretur.' 
De Instit. Orat. x. cap. i, sec. 130. 

It would seem that Bacon had read both the above passages, and 
by confusing their authorship and adding something of his own, had 
evolved the sentence which he ascribes to Aulus Gellius. He thus 
shows us, all the more clearly, what his opinion of Seneca must 
have been. 

P. 181, 1. 2. Plato} EITTOITOJ Se avrov ravra, 6 TlpobiKos, KaXwy /zoi, e<p/, 
doKfls XeyeiVj a> Kpiri'a* Xprj yap roiis fv roiolcrde \6yois irapayiyvoptvovs 
KOLVOVS fjtfv tivai dfifpolv rolv 8ia\>oiv aKpoards, Icrovs 8e pf]' eern yap ov 
ravrov' Koivfj /iet> yap aKovcrai 8el dfi(porepa>i', fifj icrov 8e vflpai fKarepca, aXXa 
TCO p.ev (To^xurepa) irXeov, ro5 8e a/xa^ecrTepa) eXarrov. eya> fj.ff Kai avros . . . 
dtco (Tuy^wptiv (cat uXXijXois Trep! T&V \6ya>v d/z<picrj3/Teii' /lev, epifaiv Se 
fir)' d/u^)t(Tj3ijToi5(ri p-tv yap Kai dt fvvoiav ol (pi'Xoi TOIJ (pi'Xoif, epifoucri fie ot 
didfpopoi re na\ e^6po\ dXXijXotf, K.r.X. Protagoras, p. 337. 



IT had been hard for him that spake it to have put more 
truth and untruth together in few words than in that speech, 
Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or 
a god: for it is most true, that a natural and secret hatred 
and aversation towards society in any man hath somewhat 
of the savage beast ; but it is most untrue that it should 
have any character at all of the divine nature, except it 
proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love 
and desire to sequester a man's self for a higher conversa 
tion a : such as is found to have been falsely and feignedly I0 
in some of the heathen ; as Epimenides, the Candian ; 

n conversation] i. e. intercourse or in civill conversation, and by little 

way of life. Conf. ' Our conversation and little were purified, and so at- 

is in heaven.' Philippians iii. 20. tained to the perfection of civill 

And, ' Such as were first seated in government.' Edmundes, Caesar's 

their possessions and entertained Commentaries, Obs. on lib. v. cap. 

societie, were the first that brought 4. 


Numa, the Roman; Empedocles, the Sicilian; andApollo 
nius of Tyana ; and truly and really in divers of the ancient 
hermits and holy fathers of the Church. But little do men 
perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth ; for 
a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of 
pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no 
love. The Latin adage meeteth with it a little, Magna 
civitas, magna solitudo ; because in a great town friends 
are scattered, so that there is not that fellowship, for the 
10 most part, which is in less neighbourhoods : but we may 
go further, and affirm most truly, that it is a mere and 
miserable solitude to want true friends, without which the 
world is but a wilderness ; and even in this sense also of 
solitude, whosoever in the frame of his nature and affec 
tions is unfit for friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and 
not from humanity. 

A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and discharge 
of the fulness and swellings of the heart, which passions of 
all kinds do cause and induce. We know diseases of 
20 stoppings and suffocations are the most dangerous in the 
body ; and it is not much otherwise in the mind ; you may 
take sarza to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, 
flowers of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the brain ; 
but no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to 
whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, 
counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, 
in a kind of civil shrift b or confession. 

It is a strange thing to observe how high a rate 
great kings and monarchs do set upon this fruit of friend- 
so ship whereof we speak : so great, as they purchase it 
many times at the hazard of their own safety and 
greatness : for princes, in regard of the distance of their 

b civil shrift] as opposed to religious. a priest is set down as obligatory. 

The French (of Baudoin) expresses Vide Decree of the 4th Lateran Council, 

this by une confession voluntaire, since canon 21, quoted in Keble's note to 

in the Church of Rome confession to Hooker's Eccl. Pol. bk. vi. ch. 4. sec. 3. 


fortune from that of their subjects and servants, cannot 
gather this fruit, except (to make themselves capable 
thereof) they raise some persons to be as it were com 
panions, and almost equals to themselves, which many 
times sorteth to c inconvenience. The modern languages 
give unto such persons the name of favourites or privadoes, 
as if it were matter of grace or conversation d ; but the 
Roman name attaineth the true use and cause thereof, 
naming them participes curarum; for it is that which tieth 
the knot. And we see plainly that this hath been done, 10 
not by weak and passionate princes only, but by the wisest 
and most politic that ever reigned, who have oftentimes 
joined to themselves some of their servants, whom both 
themselves have called friends, and allowed others likewise 
to call them in the same manner, using the word which is 
received between private men. 

L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised Pompey 
(after surnamed the Great) to that height that Pompey 
vaunted himself for Sylla's overmatch ; for when he had 
carried the consulship for a friend of his, against the 20 
pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little resent thereat, 
and began to speak great, Pompey turned upon him 
again, and in effect bade him be quiet ; for that more men 
adored the sun rising than the sun setting. With Julius 
Caesar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that interest, as he 
set him down in his testament for heir in remainder after 
his nephew ; and this was the man that had power with 
him to draw him forth to his death : for when Caesar 
would have discharged the senate, in regard of some 
ill presages and specially a dream of Calpurnia, this man 30 
lifted him gently by the arm out of his chair, telling him 

c sorteth to] i.e. turneth to. Lat. For this sense conf. 'All princes and 

non nisi praejudicio fit. all men are won either by merit or 

d conversation'] here tied down by conversation.' Letters and Life, iii. 

the context to intercourse or intimacy. 340. 


he hoped he would not dismiss the senate till his wife had 
dreamt a better dream ; and it seemeth his favour was so 
great, as Antonius, in a letter which is recited verbatim in 
one of Cicero's Philippics, calleth him venefica, witch ; as 
if he had enchanted Caesar. Augustus raised Agrippa 
(though of mean birth) to that height, as, when he consulted 
with Maecenas about the marriage of his daughter Julia, 
Maecenas took the liberty to tell him, that he must either 
marry his daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life : there 

10 was no third way, he had made him so great. With Tiberius 
Caesar, Sejanus had ascended to that height as they two 
were termed and reckoned as a pair of friends. Tiberius, 
in a letter to him, saith, Hcec pro amicitid nostrd non 
occultavi ; and the whole senate dedicated an altar to 
Friendship, as to a goddess, in respect of the great 
dearness of friendship between them two. The like, or 
more, was between Septimius Severus and Plautianus ; 
for he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of 
Plautianus, and would often maintain Plautianus in doing 

20 affronts to his son ; and did write also in a letter to the 
senate by these words : / love the man so well as I wish he 
may over-live me. Now, if these princes had been as a 
Trajan, or a Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought 

that this had proceeded of an abundant goodness of 
nature ; but being men so wise, of such strength and 
severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of themselves, 
as all these were, it proveth most plainly that they found 
their own felicity (though as great as ever happened to 
mortal men) but as an half-piece 6 , except they might 

30 have a friend to make it entire ; and yet, which is 
more, they were princes that had wives, sons, nephews ; 
and yet all these could not supply the comfort of 

It is not to be forgotten what Comineus observeth of his 

6 an half-piece] Lat. veluti mutilam. 



first master, Duke Charles the Hardy f ; namely, that he 
would communicate his secrets with none ; and least of all 
those secrets which troubled him most. Whereupon he 
goeth on and saith that towards his latter time that closeness 
did impair 9 and a little perish his understanding. Surely 
Comineus might have made the same judgment also, if it 
had pleased him, of his second master, Lewis the Eleventh, 
whose closeness was indeed his tormentor. The parable 
of Pythagoras is dark but true, Cor ne edito, eat not the 
heart* Certainly, if a man would give it a hard phrase, 10 
those that want friends to open themselves unto are 
cannibals of their own hearts. But one thing is most 
admirable (wherewith I will conclude this first fruit of 
friendship), which is, that this communicating of a man's 
self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it re- 
doubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halves : for there is no 
man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth 
the more ; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his 
friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is, in truth of 
operation upon a man's mind, of like virtue as the alchy- 20 
mists used to attribute to their stone for man's body, that 
it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and 
benefit of nature : but yet, without praying h in aid of 

f the Hardy] i.e. the bold. Conf. 
' Good fellow, be of good cheer and 
forwards hardily, fear not.' Plutarch, 
Lives, p. 729. And, ' Hardily he en- 
tride in to Pilat, and axide the body of 
Jhesu.' Mark xv. ver. 43, as in the 
earlier of the two Wycliffite versions 
edited by Forshall and Madden. In 
the later version the corresponding 
word is ' booldli.' 

* did impair &c.] Lat. nonnihil de- 
bilitasse et vitiasse. For this use of 
' perish ' conf. ' A very dangerous 
heretic, that could never get but two 
disciples, and those, it would seem, 
perished in their brain.' Letters and 
Life. i. 166. And, 

' Because thy flinty heart more hard 
than they 

Might in thy palace perish Margaret. 
Henry VI, Pt. 2. act iii. sc. a. 

h praying in aid of alchymists] i. e. 
seeking to get help from alchymists. 
Lat. absque auxilio notionum chemi- 
carum. A legal phrase. Conf. ' This 
word (ayde) is also particularly used in 
matter of pleading, for a petition made 
in court for the calling in of helpe from 
another that hath an interest in the 
cause in question, and is likely both to 
give strength to the party that prayeth 
in aide of him, and also to avoide a 
prejudice towards his owne right ex 
cept it be prevented.' Cowell, Inter- 


alchymists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary 
course of nature ; for, in bodies, union strengtheneth and 
cherisheth any natural action ; and, on the other side, 
weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression ; and even 
so is it of minds. 

The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign 

for the understanding, as the first is for the affections ; for 

* friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections from 

storm and tempests, but it maketh daylight in the under- 

10 standing, out of darkness and confusion of thoughts : 
neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel, 
which a man receiveth from his friend ; but before you 
come to that, certain it is that whosoever hath his mind 
fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understanding 
do clarify and break up in the communicating and dis 
coursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more 
easily; he marshalleth them more orderly; he seeth how 
they look when they are turned into words : finally, he 
waxeth wiser than himself; and that more by an hour's 

20 discourse than by a day's meditation. It was well said by 
Themistocles to the king of Persia, That speech was like 
cloth of Arras opened and put abroad ; whereby the imagery 
doth appear in figure ; whereas in thoughts they lie but as 
in packs. Neither is this second fruit of friendship, in 
opening the understanding, restrained only to such 
friends as are able to give a man counsel; (they in 
deed are best) ; but even without that a man learneth 
of himself, and bringeth his own thoughts to light, 

preter, sub voce ' ayde' (1607). Bacon in telling a story of a man who was 

uses the phrase elsewhere loosely, as apprehended in Southwark with a head 

in the text, = to endeavour to obtain of a dead man and a book of sorcery, 

help from. ' In divine learning we see The head and the book were burned, 

how frequent parables and Tropes are : and thus, Coke remarks, ' had the same 

for it is a rule, that whatsoever science punishment that the Sorcerer should 

is not consonant to presuppositions, have had by the ancient law, if he had 

must pray in aid of similitudes.' Works, by his sorcery praied in aid of the 

iii. p. 407. Coke is equally lax ; e. g. Devil.' Coke, Institutes, Part iii. cap. 6. 


and whetteth his wits as against a stone which itself 
cuts not. In a word, a man were better relate himself 
to a statua 1 or picture, than to suffer his thoughts to pass 
in smother k . 

Add now, to make this second fruit of friendship com 
plete, that other point which lieth more open, and falleth 
within vulgar observation : which is faithful counsel from 
a friend. Heraclitus saith well in one of his enigmas, Dry 
light is ever the best: and certain it is that the light that 
a man receiveth by counsel from another is drier and 10 
purer than that which cometh from his own understanding 
and judgment ; which is ever infused and drenched in his 
affections and customs. So as there is as much difference 
between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a man 
giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend 
and of a flatterer ; for there is no such flatterer as is 
a man's self, and there is no such remedy against flattery * 
of a man's self as the liberty of a friend. Counsel is of 
two sorts ; the one concerning manners, the other con 
cerning business : for the first, the best preservative to 20 
keep the mind in health is the faithful admonition of a 
friend. The calling of a man's self to a strict account is 
a medicine sometimes too piercing and corrosive ; reading 
good books of morality is a little flat and dead ; observing 
our faults in others is sometimes unproper for our case ; 
but the best receipt (best (I say) to work and best to take) 
is the admonition of a friend. It is a strange thing to 

1 a statua] This is a common form of ' She dreamt to-night she saw my 

the word. Conf. e. g. ' The state of statua, 

learning . . . without which the his- Which like a fountain with a htm- 

tory of the world seemeth to me to be dred spouts 

as the statua of Polyphemus with his Did run pure blood.' 

eye out.' Works, iii. 329. Julius Caesar, act ii. sc. 2. 

' They spake not a word, k to pass in smother] Lat. cogitationes 

But like dumb statuas, or breathing suas silentio suffocare. Conf. ' I have 

stones, often seen it, that things when they are 

Stared on each other.' in smother trouble more than when 

King Richard III, act iii. sc. 7. they break out.' Letters and Life, v. 47. 


behold what gross errors and extreme absurdities many 
(especially of the greater sort) do commit for want of 
a friend to tell them of them, to the great damage both of 
their fame and fortune : for, as St. James saith, they are 
as men that look sometimes into a glass, and presently ! forget 
their own shape and favour. As for business, a man 
may think, if he will, that two eyes see no more than one ; 
or that a gamester seeth always more than a looker-on ; or 
that a man in anger is as wise as he that hath said over 

10 the four and twenty letters ; or that a musket may be shot 
off as well upon the arm as upon a rest ; and such other 
' fond n and high imaginations, to think himself all in all . 
But when all is done p , the help of good counsel is that 
which setteth business straight : and if any man think that 
he will take counsel, but it shall be by pieces, asking 
counsel in one business of one man, and in another 
business of another man, it is well (that is to say, better 
perhaps than if he asked none at all) ; but he runneth two 
dangers ; one, that he shall not be faithfully counselled ; 

20 for it is a rare thing, except it be from a perfect and entire 
friend, to have counsel given but such as shall be bowed 
and crooked to some ends which he hath that giveth it : 
the other, that he shall have counsel given hurtful and 
unsafe (though with good meaning), and mixed partly of 
mischief and partly of remedy ; even as if you would call 
a physician, that is thought good for the cure of the 
disease you complain of, but is unacquainted with your 
body ; and therefore may put you in a way for a present 

I presently^ \. e. immediately. Lat. clause seems intended to interpret and 
statin i. amplify the preceding clause. ' The 

m favour] i. e. features. Vide note essential fault of the man in his fond 
on Essay 43. and high imaginations is that he thinks 

II fond] i.e. foolish. Conf. himself all in all/ Lat. in se esse omnia. 

' Tell these sad women The grammar is not more loose than 

Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes.' Bacon's grammar frequently is. 

Coriolanus, act iv. sc. i. P when all is done] Lat. quidquid did 

to think himself all in all~\ This potest in contrarium. 


cure, but overthroweth your health in some other kind, 
and so cure the disease and kill the patient : but a friend 
that is wholly acquainted with a man's estate, will beware, 
by furthering any present business, how he dasheth upon 
other inconvenience; and therefore rest not upon scattered 


counsels ; they will rather distract and mislead than settle 
and direct. 

After these two noble fruits of friendship (peace in the 
affections, and support of the judgment), followeth the 
last fruit, which is like the pomegranate, full of many 10 
kernels ; I mean aid, and bearing a part in all actions and 
occasions. Here the best way to represent to life the 
manifold use of friendship is to cast and see q how many 
things there are which a man cannot do himself; and then 
it will appear that it was a sparing speech of the ancients 
to say, that a friend is another himself: for that a friend 
is far more than himself. Men have their time, and die > 
many times in desire of some things which they principally 
take to heart ; the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a 
work, or the like. If a man have a true friend, he may 20 
rest almost secure that the care of those things will 
continue after him ; so that a man hath, as it were, two 
lives in his desires. A man hath a body, and that body is 
confined to a place: but where friendship is, all offices of 
life are as it were granted to him and his deputy ; for he 
may exercise them by his friend. How many things are 
there which a man cannot, with any face or comeliness, 
say or do himself? A man can scarce allege his own 
merits with modesty, much less extol them : a man cannot 
sometimes brook to supplicate or beg, and a number of 3 
the like : but all these things are graceful in a friend's 

* to cast and see] Lat. circumspici- As it is common for the younger 
endo et videndo. Conf. sort 

'It is as proper to our age To lack discretion.' 

To cast beyond ourselves in our Hamlet, act ii. sc. i. 



mouth, which are blushing in a man's own. So again, a 
man's person r hath many proper relations s which he 
cannot put off. A man cannot speak to his son but as 
a father ; to his wife but as a husband ; to his enemy but 
upon terms * : whereas a friend may speak as the case 
requires, and not as it sorteth u with the person. But to 
enumerate these things were endless ; I have given the 
rule where a man cannot fitly play his own part ; if he 
have not a friend, he may quit the stage. , 


P. 183, 1. i. for him) The Latin is etiam illi, implying that the 
author referred to was a master in the art of putting together in few 
words the utmost possible amount of truth and untruth. 

1. 3. Whosoever is &c.] The reference is to Aristotle's Politics, bk. 
I. cap. 2 : 'Ex TOVTUV ovv (pavepov on TO>V (pvo-fi r) TroXis ear/, Kal on avQp&Tros 
(pvo~fi iroXinKov fwoj/, Kal 6 anoXis 8ia (pixriv Kal ov 8ia TI>XT)V TJTOI (pav\6s fo~nv 

fj KpflTTOiV fj avdpWTTOS, OHTTTfp Kal 6 V<p' 'OfJ.f]pOV \Ol8oprj6flS. 

, adep.icrTOS, aveo-nos . . . 6 Sc /ttty dwdpfvos Koivavelv, 17 p.T]6ev 
81 avra.pKfiai', oiidev p.epos TtoXfats, &crre fj drjpiov fj 6eos. 

I have given the above passages at length in order to show, per 
haps needlessly, the absurd incorrectness of Bacon's remarks upon 
them. It is true that in the Ethics Aristotle prefers the contemplative 
to the practical, the self-sufficing to the dependent life : 'O 8e TOIOVTOS 
av firj /3('os KpfiTTWV fj KUT av6pa>iTov' ov yap f/ avdpanros fcrnv OVTO> ftiuxrtrai, 
a\\' 77 6e~iov n ev aiirca vnapxti, K.T.\. X. 7. The fj deos of the Politics 
suggests the same thought. It does not suggest or admit a natural 
and secret hatred and aversion towards society, proceeding out of a 
pleasure in solitude and not out of a love and desire to sequester 
a man's self for a higher conversation. In the Advancement of 

r a man's person} i. e. the part or lations essentially belonging to it. Lat. 

character which a man sustains in ntulta habet conjuncta. 
society. Conf. * upon terms} The Lat. salva dtgni- 

' I then did use the person of your tate expresses a part of the sense, or 

father ' perhaps a derivative of. the sense, but 

TT T ,, it does not mark the contrast intended 

2 Henry IV, act v. sc. 2. ,. 

between the unreserved intercourse of 

And, 'That your Majesty do for this friends and the measured formalities and 

Parliament put off the person of a arm's-length restraints within which a 

merchant and contractor, and rest upon man must have dealings with his enemy, 
the person of a King.' Letters and u sorteth} i. e. suiteth. Conf. ' Livia 

Life, iv. 371. sorted well with the arts of her hus- 

s hath many proper relations} i. e. re- band.' Essay 6 and note. 


Learning, there is a passage of magnificent eloquence, in which Bacon 
decides against Aristotle's preference of the contemplative life, but it 
does not bear out in any way the captious blunder of the Essay. Vide 
Works, iii. 421. 

P. 184, 1. 7. the Latin adage] This is a splendid perversion. The 
original phrase does not convey the ethical sense which Bacon reads 
into it. It is given among the Erasmi Adagia. ' Strabo, Geographiae 
lib. xvi. Seleuciam ad Tigrim ait Babylone majorem fuisse, sed ple- 
raque sui parte desertam, ac jure optimo de ilia dici posse, quod de 
Megalopoli Arcadiae civitate dixit comicus quispiam 
'Eprjfjita fj.fyd\r) *<TTIV 17 p.fya\r] TroXis 

id est Est magna solitude magna civitas. Allusum est ad nomen 
urbis.' Adag. p. 476 (Edition 1551). 

1. 19. diseases of stoppings &c.] Bacon makes frequent use of these 
pathological similes ; e. g. conf. Essay 3, p. 19, ' for as in the natural 
body,' &c. ; and speech in Parliament, Life and Letters, iv. 177 : ' Take 
away liberty of Parliament, the griefs of the subject will bleed 
inwards : sharp and eager humours will not evaporate, and then they 
must exulcerate, and so may endanger the sovereignty itself.' 

P. 185, l.g.participes curarum] I can find no authority for Bacon's state 
ment that this is ' the Roman name.' He seems to have been misled 
by his double habit of reading Greek authors in a Latin version and of 
quoting from memory afterwards. Dion Cassius, speaking of the titles 
which Tiberius conferred on Sejanus, mentions among the rest, *al 
Koivuvbv T>V $poirri8a)v atvopafc. This is rendered in Xylander's version 
by curarumque suarum participem nominavit. Dion Cassius, lib. Iviii. 
p. 714 in H. Stephens' fol. edition (1592). It is a questionable 
instance of friendship, for it appears by the context that it was part of 
a design to prepare the way for the overthrow of a man of whom 
Tiberius was distrustful, but whom he feared to attack openly. 

1. 17. L. Sylla &c.] This story is incorrectly told. The answer in 
the text was made when ' Pompey required the honour of triumph, 
but Sylla denied it, alledging that none could enter in triumph into 
Rome but Consuls or Praetors. . . . These reasons did Sylla alledge 
against Pompey, and told him plainly that if he were bent to stand in 
it, he would resist him. All this blanked not Pompey, who told him 
frankly againe how men did honour the rising not the setting of the 
Sun.' It was after this that ' Pompey by force and against Syllaes 
will had brought Lepidus to be Consull, by the helpe and good will 
of the people that furthered his desire.' Life of Pompeius, North's 
Plutarch, p. 638. 

1. 24. With Julius Caesar &c.] For this vide Plutarch's Life of 
Julius Caesar, North's trans, p. 740. 

P. 186, 1. 4. calleth him venefica} The word seems to have been used 
by Antony as nothing more than a term of general abuse. The letter, 



which Cicero recites with a running comment on each clause, is 
l Et te, o puer, qui omnia ejus nomini debes, id agere ut jure damnatus sit 
Dolabella, et ut venefica haec liberetur obsidionel Veneficam audes 
appellare eum virum qui tuis veneficiis remedia invenit?' &c. &c. 
Philipp. xiii. n. Cap. 9 shows that it is Brutus who is here meant. 

1. 5,. Augustus raised Agrippa &c.] 'O Avyovoro? .... p,fTeirfp.tyaro 
avrov, Kai. KaravayKacras Tr/v yvvaiKa, Kainep dSeX0i8J)i> avTOv ovcrav, aTraXXd- 
avTa, rff 'louXt'a avvoiKrja-ai, es rfjv 'P(afj.ijv , . . cTre/x^e. did re TaXXa Kai OTI 
6 MaiKrjvas avp,^ov\fvofj.(i>M ol Trtpl avTa>v TOVTOV emeiv Xeyerai OTI, TTJ^IKOVTOV 
avTov TreTroiTjKas $><TTe fj yapftpov crov yeveo-dai t) (povevdrjvai. Dion Cassius, 

liv. 6. 

1. II. SejanUS had CISCe nded\ Tyv re ovv rv-^v avrov KaraKopws a>p.w<rav, 
KOI crvvdp\ovTa roO Tiftepiov, OVK ts ri]v \marelav tiXX' ts TO Kpdros vTrotr^jLiat- 
vovres, eneKaXovv. Dion Cassius, Iviii. 6. 

1. 13. Haec pro amicitia &c.] Tac. Ann. iv. 40. 

1. 14. and the whole senate} ' Neque senatus in eo cura an imperii 
extrema dehonestarentur : pavor internus occupaverat animos, cui 
remedium adulatione quaerebatur. Ita quanquam diversis super 
rebus consulerentur, aram clementiae, aram amicitiae, effigiesque 
circum Caesaris ac Sejani censuere.' Tac. Ann. iv. 74. 

1. 16. The like, or wore &C.] Trjv re Ovyartpa. avrov rw vlel (fivijcrrevo'e, TTO\- 
\as crf/jLvas Kopas 7rapaXi7ro>v' vnarovre aTre'Set^e, Kat diddoxov TTJS avrap^taf, 
a)? fiireiv, fX elv *]tiaTo' Kai nore Kal eTreoreiXf, 4>tXw TOV av8pa, wore Kai 
fvXfaQai irpoaTrodave'iv avrov. Dion Cassius, Ixxv. 15. 

1. 19. would often maintain him &c.] This may be inferred from 
what Dion Cassius says about the conduct of the Emperor's sons after 
the death of Plautianus : Ot 8e TOV Seovfjpov ndlSes, o re 'AvTowlvos KOI 6 
TeTas, olov nai8ay<ayov TWOS dnrfhXa.yii.evoi TOV HXavTiavov, ov8ev o n OVK 
fTToiow. Dion Cassius, Ixxvi. 7. 

1. 29. but as an half-piece] Bacon is probably referring to the old 
practice of cutting silver pennies into halves to make up for the 
deficiency of smaller coins. Up to the time of Edward I few or no 
half-pennies were struck at the mini. 'The want of such small 
money,' says Hawkins, ' seems to have been generally supplied by 
cutting the pennies into halves and quarters. Several specimens are 
to be found in almost all reigns.' Silver Coins of England (Ed. 2nd), 
p. 199. 

In 1393, a petition of the commons to King Richard II complains of 
a ' great scarcity in the Realm of Half-pennies and Farthings of 
Silver, whereby the poor were frequently ill-supplied, so that when 
a poor man would buy his victuals and other necessaries convenient 
for him, and had only a penny, for which he ought to receive a half 
penny in exchange, he did many times spoil his penny in order to 
make one half-penny.' Ruding's Annals of the Coinage of Britain 
(1817), vol. i. p. 474. 


In 1402, a petition to Henry IV states that 'the people, of great 
necessity, used the moneys of foreign lands . . . and in some parts 
Halfpennies divided (to the great destruction and waste of the said 
money) and in some places tokens of lead.' Ruding, vol. i. p. 484. 

In Elizabeth's reign there was the same complaint about the want 
of small coins. ' In 1574,' says Ruding, ' the use of private tokens for 
money . . . was at this time grown to such excess as to be the sub 
ject of frequent complaints. They were made of Lead, Tin, Latten, 
and even of leather. Of these base materials were formed farthings 
and half-pence.' Ruding, vol. ii. p. 162. 

1. 34. what Comineus observeth] He says of the Duke that, after his 
defeat by the Swiss at Granson, 'il avoit sejourne a Losanne en 
Savoye, ou vous, monseigneur de Vienne, le servistes de bon conseil 
en une grant malladie qu'il eut de douleur et de tristesse de ceste 
honte qu'il avoit receue ; et, a dire la verite, je croy que jamais depuis 
il n'eut 1'entendement si bon qu'il avoit en auparavant ceste bataille.' 
Memoires de Commynes, v. cap. 3. 

In the same year, after his defeat at Morat, ' s'estoit retire a 1'entree 
de Bourgongne, en ung lieu appelle la Riviere, auquel lieu il sejourna 
plus de six sepmaines . . . et se tenoit comme solitaire . . . car la 
douleur qu'il eut de la premiere bataille de Granson fut si grande, et 
luy troubla tant les esperits, qu'il en tomba en grant malladie. . . . 
Et, a mon advis, oncques puis ladicte malladie ne fut si saige que 
auparavant, mais beaucoup diminue de son sens. 

' Et telles sont les passions de ceulx qui n'eurent jamais adversite et 
ne scavent trouver nulz remedes . . . car, en ce cas et en sembla- 
bles, la premier refuge est retourner a Dieu. . . . Apres cela, faict 
grand bien de parler a quelque amy, se povez, et devant luy hardy- 
ment plaindre ses douleurs, . . . et non point prendre le chemin 
que print le due de se cacher ou se tenir solitairement.' Livre v, 
cap. 5. 

P. 187, 1. 8. The parable of Pythagoras} Lat. Tessera Pythagorae. 

Vide Diog. Laertius on Pythagoras : 'Hi/ 8" airw TO. </u/3oXa rdSe . . . 
Kap8ii]j> P.TI tffdifiv . . . 8ia 8e rov Kap8irjv p.rj euditiv edfjXov pr) rrjv ^vx^v 
aviais KOL XUTTOIS KaraT^Keiv. 

Porphyry, in his life, mentions this among the dicta of Pythagoras, 

TraXiv 8' av erepa roiavra, olov pf] Kapftlav ftrBUiv' olov firf Xvireiv eavrbv aviais. 
' Eat not thy heart ; that is to say, offend not thine own soul, nor hurt 
and consume it with pensive cares.' Given in Plutarch's Morals, 
among the enigmatical sayings of Pythagoras, p. 13. 

1. 20. like virtue as the Alchemists used to ascribe &c.] The virtues 
ascribed by the Alchemists to the Philosopher's stone, the ' lapis bene- 
dictus,' are large enough and various enough to cover Bacon's words. 
' Homines in suavitate et juventute conservat, repellendo ab eis cunc- 
tos languores : . . . lepram depellit, caducum morbum et alias multas 

O 2 


fere incurabiles infirmitates mulcet atque etiam removet. Et haec 
omnia operatur plus quam omnes medicorum medicinae, vel potiones 
vel confectiones quaecunque. . . . Sicque fit antidotum et medicina om 
nium corporum curandorum, et purgandorum, tarn metallicorum quam 
humanorum. Rosarius quoque multa specificat dicens : Conservat 
sanitatem et roborat virtutem, reparat juventutem, purgat spiritualia, 
purgat pulmonem, venena cuncta expellit, morbos tollit, leprosos in 
vino bibita paulatim curat.' Ventura, de ratione conficiendi lapidis 
Philos. cap. xxxi. Quod virtus lapidis nostri praeciosa, est immensa 
multiplex et admirabilis. The aurum potabile, derived from this 
stone, is expressly said to work ' all contrary effects, but still to the 
good.' Conf. ' Lapis hie Philosophorum cor purgat omniaque membra 
capitalia, nee non intestina medullas et quicquid ipso corpore contin- 
etur. Non permittit aliquem in corpore pullulare morbum, sed ab eo 
fugiunt Podagra, Hydropisis, Icteritia, Colica passio, nee non a quatuor 
humoribus aegritudines omnes provenientes ejicit, corpora quoque 
repurgat, ut similia reddantur ac si turn primo nata essent. Refugit 
omne quod naturam destruere conatur. Non aliter quam venues 
ignem ; ita infirmitates quaecunque renovationem hanc fugiunt.' 
Paracelsus, vol. ii. p. 18 b (Ed. in 3 fol. vols., Geneva, 1658). 

' Ex hoc fonte scatet VERUM AURUM POTABILE,' p. 138 b ; ' admirabilis 
profecto medicina quae pariter humidum atque siccum, calidum 
aeque ac frigidum curat.' Vol. iii. p. 115 a. 

P. 188, 1. 2. for, in bodies] i. e. in inanimate bodies. Lat. in rebus natur- 
alibus. The Ed. of 1612 gives, ' And as it is certaine that in bodies in 
animate, union strengthened any naturall motion and weakeneth any 
violent motion : So amongst men, friendship multiplieth joies and 
divideth griefes.' Works, vi. p. 558. 

On the asserted certainty of this principle, and on the phraseology 
in which it is expressed, Bacon speaks elsewhere in terms very 
different from the above. Vide note on Essay 24. 

1. 20. It was well said by Themistocles} The words of Themistocles 
do not bear the sense which Bacon puts upon them. The comparison 
intended is not between speech and thought, but between the perfect 
and imperfect expression of thought by language. Themistocles learnt 
to speak Persian not in order to open his understanding and bring his 
own thoughts to light, but to enable him to do justice to his plans in 
explaining them to the Persian King. The credit therefore for the 
very fine simile in the text belongs to Bacon, not to Themistocles. 

Plutarch tells the story twice. In his life of Themistocles : ' The 
mistocles (being charged by the Persian king to be bold and to speak 
his mind freely about the state of Greece) then answered him : That 
men's words did properly resemble the stories and imagerie in a 
peece of arras; for both in the one and in the other, the goodly 
images of either of them are scene when they are unfolded and laid 


open. Contrariwise they appear not, but are lost, when they are shut 
up and close folded : whereupon he said to the king he must needes 
require some further time of answer. The king liked his comparison 
passing well and willed him to appoint his owne time. Themistocles 
asked a yeare ; in which time having pretily learned the Persian 
tongue, he afterwards spake to the king himself without any inter 
preter.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 131. And again in his Apophthegmata : 
' Being banished out of Athens ... he retired himselfe to the great 
King of Persia, where having audience given him to speak, he said : 
That a man's speech might very well be likened unto clothes of 
tapestry, wrought with imagery and story-work : for both the one 
and the other, if they be displaied and unfolded at length, discover 
plainly and openly the figures drawn within ; but if they be folded or 
rolled up, all the pourtraictures be hidden and to no purpose : he 
requested therefore the tearm of a certein time within which he 
might learn the Persian language, to the end that thenceforward he 
might be able to declare and deliver his own minde unto the king by 
himselfe, and not by a truck-man or interpreter.' Plutarch, Morals, 
p. 344, Apophthegmes of Kings, &c. 

Bacon in his Apophthegms new and old tells the story correctly : 
'Themistocles said of speech : that it was like Arras that spread abroad 
shows fair images, but contracted is but like packs! Works, vii. 153. 

The metaphor is employed correctly, but with no reference to its 
origin, by Travers in the course of his controversy with Hooker : 
' I have been bold to offer to your honours a long and tedious discourse 
of these matters ; but, speech being like to tapestry, which if it be 
folded up sheweth but part of that which is wrought, and being un- 
lapt and laid open sheweth plainly, to the eye of all the world, that is 
in it; I thought it necessary to unfold this tapestry,' &c. Keble's 
Hooker, vol. iii. p. 707 (Ed. 1836). 

P. 189, 1. i. a stone &c.] Conf. 

' Ergo fungar vice cotis, acutum 
Reddere quae ferrum valet, exsors ipsa secandi.' 

Hor. De Arte Poet. 304. 

1. 8. Heraclitus &c.] This enigma is variously recorded. The 
correct version is avrj ^v^r) ao^toTdri) KOI dpio-Tt). Vide Stobaei Flori- 
legium, v. 120 (Gaisford's Edition). Gaisford gives, in a note, a various 
reading, ' avyfj ^pr) o-oc^&mir??. Neminem haec varietas confundat ; 01717 
mendosum est pro avrj, et 77/377 ejusdem glossema. Schow. Cod. Paris. 
A. reads avrj grjprj, " sed ^pr) lineam habet subductam." ' 

1. 8. Dry light &c.] Conf. Nov. Org. i. 49 : ' Intellectus humanus 
luminis sicci non est ; sed recipit infusionem a voluntate et affecti- 
bus.' Works, i. p. 167. 

Again in the Advancement of Learning, bk. i : ' When men fall to 
framing conclusions out of their knowledge, applying it to their par- 


ticular, and ministering to themselves thereby weak fears or vain 
desires, there groweth that carefulness and trouble of mind which is 
spoken of: for the knowledge is no more lumen siccum, whereof 
Heraclitus the profound said, Lumen siccum optima anima; but it 
becometh Lumen madidum or maceratum, being steeped and infused 
in the humours of the affections.' Works, iii. 266. 

P. 190, 1. 4. St. James saith] Ep. i. 23. 

1. 8. a gamester &c.] The proverb here referred to is frequently 
quoted by Bacon. Conf. Essay 48. p. 335. And, ' As the proverb is, a 
looker on sometimes seeth more than a gamester.' Letters and Life, 
vi. 239. 

In the Advancement of Learning, bk. ii, the proverb is given with a 
reserve : ' For although sometimes a looker on may see more than a 
gamester, and there be a proverb more arrogant than sound that the 
vale best discovereth the hill ; yet,' &c. Works, iii. 428. 

1. 10. the four and twenty letters'} Conf. 'Viginti quatuor, qui est 
numerus alphabeti apud nos.' Examples of alphabets follow, with no 
distinct character or place assigned to J and U. Works, i. 659. 

' In our language,' says Ben Jonson, ' we use these four and twenty 
letters ' and he adds an alphabet with no J or U. English Grammar, 
bk. i. chap. 2. The form U, however, comes in presently, as it does 
also with Bacon. The custom of the age had come to be to put V as 
the initial letter, and U as a subsequent letter. The word 'uva' 
would thus be written ' vua.' In the previous century no such rule 
was observed. 

The advice in the text is not new. Conf. ' Athenodorus the philo 
sopher being of great yeares, craved license with his (Caesar's) good 
favour to retire unto his own house from the court, by reason of his 
old age : and leave he gave him, but at his farewell Athenodorus 
said unto him, Sir when you perceive yourself to be moved with 
Choler, neither say nor do ought before you have repeated to your 
self all the twenty-four letters in the Alphabet. Caesar hearing this 
advertisement took him by the hand : I have need still (quoth he) 
of your company and presence, and so retained him for one yeare 
longer.' Plutarch, Morals, p. 364. 

P. 191, 1. 16. a friend another himself ~\ A saying ascribed to Pytha 
goras : Tovs 8e (piXovs VTreprjydTra, KOIVO. p,fv TO. TU>V (piXotv tlvai npSiTos dTro<pr)vd- 

fjifvos, TOV Se <f>i\ov aXXov eavTov. Porphyry, Vita Pythag. 33. Aristotle 
uses it : "Eori yap 6 (piXos aXXos avros. Eth. Nicom. ix. 4. sec. 5. 'Qs df 
Trpbs eavTov f\fi 6 (nrovdaios, KOI rrpos TOV <plXov' erepos yap avros o (piXos ecrriv. 

ix. 9. sec. 10, and Magna Moralia, ii. 15. sec. 8. So, too, Zeno Cittieus : 
(pvTrjdcis TLS eo-Ti <piXos ; aXXos, (<pr), eyw. Diog. Laertius, lib. vii. sec. 23. 
Conf. also, ' Whereas it is commonly said and thought that a friend 
is another own-selfe, and men give unto him the name of eralpos or 
Greeke, as if a man should say, erepos, that is such another,' &c. 



Plutarch on Plurality of Friends, Morals, Holland's Trans, p. 185. 
Conf. also Cicero, De Amicitia, cap. 21 : ' Verus amicus ... est enim 
is qui est tanquam alter idem.' Bacon calls the speech 'sparing' 
because he takes it (wrongly) as referring to the convenience or 
' fruit ' of friendship. 

1. 26. How many things are there] Conf. ' Quam multa enim, quae 
nostra causa nunquam faceremus, facimus causa amicorum ? precari 
ab indigno, supplicare ; . . . quae in nostris rebus non satis honeste, 
in amicorum fiunt honestissime.' Cicero, de Amicit. cap. xvi. 57. 


RICHES are for spending, and spending for honour and 
good actions; therefore extraordinary expence must be 
limited a by the worth of the occasion ; for voluntary 
undoing may be as well for a man's country as for the 
kingdom of heaven ; but ordinary expence ought to be 
limited by a man's estate, and governed with such regard 
as it be within his compass ; and not subject to deceit and 
abuse of servants ; and ordered to the best show, that 
the bills may be less than the estimation abroad. Cer 
tainly, if a man will keep but of even hand b , his ordinary 10 
expences ought to be but to the half of his receipts ; and 
if he think to wax rich, but to the third part. It is no 
baseness for the greatest to descend and look into their 
own estate. Some forbear it, not upon negligence alone, 

limited] i. e. appointed or meas 
ured. Lat. commensurandi sunt. Ital. 
proportionate. The clause following 
shows that on a sufficiently worthy oc 
casion there are no bounds to be set 
to expence. Conf. 

' For 'tis my limited service.' 

Macbeth, act ii. sc. 3. 
So frequently in the Statute Book of 
the sixteenth century, e. g. ' Upon the 
pains forfeitures and penalties in the 

present estatute limited and expressed.' 
37 Henry VIII, cap. 9. 

b will keep but of even hand] Lat. qui 
diminutionem fortunarum suarum pati 
nolit. Conf. ' Whoso is out of hope to 
attain to another's virtue will seek to 
come at even hand by depressing 
another's fortune." Essay 9. And, 
' Business is bought at a dear hand 
where there is small dispatch.' Essay 


but doubting to c bring themselves into melancholy, in 
respect they shall d find it broken : but wounds cannot be 
cured without searching. He that cannot look into his 
own estate at all had need both choose well those whom 
he employeth, and change them often ; for new are more 
timorous and less subtile. He that can look into his 
estate but seldom, it behoveth him to turn all to certain 
ties 6 . A man had need, if he be plentiful in some kind 
of expence, to be as saving again in some other : as if 

10 he be plentiful in diet, to be saving in apparel : if he 
be plentiful in the hall f , to be saving in the stable : and 
the like. For he that is plentiful in expences of all kinds 
will hardly be preserved from decay. In clearing of a 
man's estate, he may as well hurt himself in being too 
sudden as in letting it run on too long ; for hasty selling g 
is commonly as disadvantageable as interest. Besides, he 
that clears at once will relapse ; for finding himself out of 
straits, he will revert to his customs : but he that cleareth 
by degrees induceth a habit of frugality, and gaineth 

20 as well upon his mind h as upon his estate. Certainly, who 
hath a state to repair may not despise small things ; and 

c doubting to] i. e. thinking it very refer only to the man's own eating 

possible they may a sense still re- and drinking ; the hall, to the general 

tained as a vulgar colloquialism. table kept for the whole establish- 

d in respect they shall] i. e. in case ment. 

they shall. Lat. sires nimio plus accisas e hasty selling 8tc.~\ Lat. praeproperae 

deprehenderint. enim venditiones jacturam ex usuris 

6 to turn all to certainties} i. e. ex- saepe exaequant. Conf. ' Were it not 

pences as well as in receipts. Lat. in for this easy borrowing upon interest, 

certos reditus atque etiam sumptus ver- men's necessities would draw upon 

tere convenit. them a most sudden undoing, in that 

r in the hall] ' The Hall was the place they would be forced to sell their 

where the great Lord us'd to eat, means far under foot.' Essay 41. 

(wherefore else were the Halls made h upon his mind~\ For this use of 

so big?), where he saw all his servants 'upon' conf. 'Philosophy doth con- 

and tenants about him. He eat not in demn our want of care and industry if 

private except in time of sickness ; we do not win very much upon our- 

when once he became a thing coop'd selves ' (i. e. if we do not make effective 

up, all his greatness was spoil'd.' use of some preservatives against the 

Selden, Table Talk, sub voce Hall. passions of the mind referred to just 

' Diet,' just above, seems therefore to before). Letters and Life, ii. 8. 


commonly it is less dishonourable to abridge petty charges 
than to stoop to petty gettings. A man ought warily to 
begin charges which once begun will continue : but in 
matters that return not he may be more magnificent. 


P. 199, 1. 3. for voluntary undoing} Conf. ' No man's fortune can 
be an end worthy of his being : and many times the worthiest men 
do abandon their fortune willingly for better respects.' Works, iii. 


P. 200, 1. 5. change them often} This was the practice of James' 
favourite, Villiers, whether from policy or from mere caprice. Conf. 
' His lordship was bred in a great error, he was so ready to cast a 
cloud suddenly upon his creatures, and with much inconstancy to 
root up that which he had planted. A fault too patent against all 
Apology. He had changed the white staves of the King's Houshold, 
the Secretaries, the Masters of the Court of Wards, the Chancellors 
of the Exchequer and many others. Partly it happened because 
fresh Undertakers came with Proffers and Forecasts which had not 
been made before. Presently some must be discarded, to make 
room for those who, albeit in their discharge they did less than their 
predecessors, yet outbid them in Promises. And partly, which goes 
together, his Lordship was of very desultorious Affections, quickly 
weary of those whom he had gratified and apt to resume his favours 
to make trial upon others . . . From whence it came to pass that his 
Lordship was often served by bad instruments ; for they made too 
much haste to be Rich, because they knew their turn was coming 
quickly to be shifted. And it is a weak part to blast the good Turns 
which a man hath done, and to lose his thanks and the fidelity of his 
Clients.' Hacket's Life of Abp. Williams, Part i. p. 40. 

And again, ' My Lord-Duke was soon satiated with their greatness 
whom he had advanced. It was the inglorious mark of those thirteen 
years of his Power to remove Officers. Which was like a sweeping 
Floud, that at every spring-tide takes from one land and casts it upon 
another.' Part ii. p. 19. 




THE speech of Themistocles, the Athenian, which was 
haughty and arrogant in taking so much to himself, had 
been a grave and wise observation and censure*, applied 
at large to others. Desired at a feast to touch a lute, he 
said, He could not fiddle, but yet he could make a small town 
a great city. These words (holpen a little with a metaphor) 
may express two different abilities in those that deal in 
business of estate ; for if a true survey be taken of coun 
sellors and statesmen, there may be found (though rarely) 

10 those which can make a small state great, and yet cannot 
fiddle : as, on the other side, there will be found a great 
many that can fiddle very cunningly, but yet are so far 
from being able to make a small state great, as their gift 
lieth the other way; to bring a great and flourishing estate 
to ruin and decay. And certainly, those degenerate arts 
and shifts whereby many counsellors and governors gain 
both favour with their masters and estimation with the 
vulgar, deserve no better name than fiddling ; being things 
rather pleasing for the time, and graceful to themselves 

20 only, than tending to the weal and advancement of the 
state which they serve. There are also (no doubt) coun 
sellors and governors which may be held sufficient (negotiis 
pares], able to manage affairs, and to keep them from pre 
cipices and manifest inconveniences ; which nevertheless 
are far from the ability to raise and amplify an estate in 
power, means, and fortune. But be the workmen what 
they may be, let us speak of the work; that is, the true 
greatness of kingdoms and estates, and the means thereof. 

a censure] i. e. judgment ; a common also the censure of foreign laws, 

Latinism. Conf. ' This is not only the conclusion of common rea- 

the wisdom of the laws of the realm, son.' Letters and Life, ii. 281, and 

which so defineth of it, but it is passim. 


An argument b fit for great and mighty princes to have in 
their hand; to the end that neither by over-measuring 
their forces they lose themselves in vain enterprises : nor, 
on the other side, by undervaluing them they descend to 
fearful and pusillanimous counsels. 

The greatness of an estate in bulk and territory doth fall 
under measure ; and the greatness of finances and revenue 
doth fall under computation. The population may appear 
by musters ; and the number and greatness of cities and 
towns by cards c and maps ; but yet there is not anything 10 
amongst civil affairs more subject to error than the right 
valuation and true judgment concerning the power and 
forces of an estate. The kingdom of heaven is compared, 
not to any great kernel or nut, but to a grain of mustard- 
seed; which is one of the least grains, but hath in it a 
property and spirit hastily to get up and spread. So are 
there states great in territory, and yet not apt to enlarge 
or command; and some that have but a small dimension 
of stem, and yet apt to be the foundations of great 
monarchies. 20 

Walled towns, stored arsenals and armories, goodly 
races of horse, chariots of war, elephants, ordnance, artil 
lery, and the like ; all this is but a sheep in a lion's skin, 
except the breed and disposition of the people be stout 
and warlike. Nay, number (itself) in armies importeth 
not much d where the people is of weak courage ; for (as 
Virgil saith), It never troubles a wolf how many the sheep be. 
The army of the Persians in the plains of Arbela was 
such a vast sea of people as it did somewhat astonish 
the commanders in Alexander's army, who came to him 30 
therefore and wished him to set upon them by night; 
but he answered, He would not pilfer the victory : and the 

b an argument] i.e. subject or theme. d importeth not much] i.e. is not of 

c cards] i. e. charts. Conf. note on much importance. Conf. 'the true 

Essay 18. In the edition of 1612 the placing of them importeth exceedingly.' 

word is spelt ' carts.' Essay 3. 


defeat was easy. When Tigranes, the Armenian, being 
encamped upon a hill with four hundred thousand men, 
discovered the army of the Romans, being not above four 
teen thousand, marching towards him, he made himself 
merry with it, and said, Yonder men are too many for an 
ambassage, and too few for a fight ; but before the sun set 
he found them enow to give him the chace with infinite 
slaughter. Many are the examples of the great odds be 
tween number and courage: so that a man may truly 

10 make a judgment that the principal point of greatness in 

i| any state is to have a race of military men. Neither is 
money the sinews of war (as it is trivially said), where the 
sinews of men's arms in base and effeminate people are 
failing: for Solon said well to Croesus (when in ostenta 
tion he showed him his gold), Sir, if any other come that 
hath better iron than you, he will be master of all this gold. 
Therefore, let any prince or state think soberly of his 
forces, except his militia e of natives be of good and valiant 
soldiers; and let princes, on the other side, that have 

20 subjects of martial disposition, know their own strength, 
unless they be otherwise wanting unto themselves. As 
for mercenary forces (which is the help in this case), all 
examples show that whatsoever estate or prince doth rest 
upon them, he may spread his feathers for a time, but he will 
mew them f soon after. 

The blessing of Judah and Issachar will never meet; 
that the same people or nation should be both the lion's whelp 

i and the ass between burdens ; neither will it be that a people 
overlaid with taxes should ever become valiant and martial. 

30 It is true that taxes, levied by consent of the estate, do 

6 militia] used, generally, formilitary nor fal nor of her fethere ; therefor 

force. So below, to employ almost here is a medicine.' Heading of a 

indifferently all nations in their militia paragraph in the St. Alban's booke of 

of ordinary soldiers. hawking, huntyng,and fysshyng. So in 

f will mew them] i.e. will moult or Overbury's characters, subtit.AWnoRE, 

shed them. Lat. defluent illae. Conf. comparing her to a hawk, he says ' and 

' Who so wil that an hawke mew not now she has mewed three coats.' 


abate men's courage less ; as it hath been seen notably in 
the excises of the Low Countries ; and, in some degree, in 
the subsidies of England ; for, you must note that we speak 
now of the heart and not of the purse ; so that although 
the same tribute and tax laid by consent or by imposing 
be all one to the purse, yet it works diversely upon the 
courage. So that you may conclude that no people over 
charged with tribute is fit for empire., 

Let states that airn"at greatness take heed how their 
nobility and gentlemen do multiply too fast ; for that 10 
maketh the common subject grow to be a peasant and 
base swain, driven out of heart, and in effect but the 
gentleman's labourer. Even as you may see in coppice 
woods ; if you leave your staddles 8 too thick, you shall 
never have clean underwood, but shrubs and bushes. So in 
countries, if the gentlemen be too many the commons will 
be base ; and you will bring it to that that not the hundred 
poll h will be fit for an helmet : especially as to the infantry, 
which is the nerve of an army; and so there will be great 
population and little strength. This which I speak of hath 20 
been nowhere better seen than by comparing of England 
and France ; whereof England, though far less in territory 

K your staddles} Lat. si major quant 
par est caudicum stvearborum majorum 
relinquatur numerus. Conf. 
' Leave growing for staddles the 
likest and best, 

Though seller and buier dispatched 
the rest.' 

Tusser, Five hundreth points of 
good husbandry. April's husbandry. 
Chap, xxxviii. stanza 9. 

The poem is given at length in 
Somers' Tracts, vol. iii. (Ed. 1810). 

The word, which is obsolete in this 
country, is (Webster says) still in use 
in America, where ' trees are called 
staddles from three or four years old, 
till they are 6 or 8 inches in diameter : 
but in this respect the word is indefinite.' 
Conf. Webster's Dictionary, sub voce. 

h the hundred poll] Lat. centesimum 
quodque caput. We find elsewhere a 
confusion between the cardinal and 
ordinal forms of this number. Conf. 
'And he himself with foure hundreth 
of the best men he had . . . went 
straight to the gates of the citie.' 
Plutarch, Lives, p. 1025. So in Burton's 
Will, ' an hundredth pound ' and ' an 
hundred punds ' are used indifferently. 
Quoted in Anat. of Melancholy, Pre 
face to Edition of 1837, p. xix. So, 
too, in the early editions of Tusser, 
the titles of his poems are ' One hun 
dreth ' or ' Five hundreth points of 
good husbandry.' In the edition of 
the Essays of 1612 the words corre 
sponding to the text are ' the hundreth 


and population, hath been (nevertheless) an overmatch ; in 
regard i the middle people of England make good soldiers, 
which the peasants of France do not : and herein the de 
vice of King Henry the Seventh (whereof I have spoken 
largely in the history of his life) was profound and ad 
mirable, in making farms and houses of husbandry of a 
standard, that is, maintained with such a proportion of 
land unto them as may breed a subject to live in con 
venient plenty, and no servile condition ; and to keep the 
10 plough in the hands of the owners, and not mere hirelings ; 
and thus indeed you shall attain to Virgil's character, which 
he gives to ancient Italy : 

Terra potens armis atque ubere glebae. 

Neither is that state k (which, for anything I know, is 
almost peculiar to England, and hardly to be found any 
where else, except it be perhaps in Poland) to be passed 
over; I mean the state of free servants and attendants 
upon noblemen and gentlemen, which are no ways in 
ferior unto the yeomanry for arms ; and therefore, out of 
20 all question, the splendour and magnificence and great 
retinues and hospitality of noblemen and gentlemen re 
ceived into custom 1 doth much conduce unto martial 
greatness ; whereas, contrariwise, the close and reserved 
living of noblemen and gentlemen causeth a penury of 
military forces. 

1 in regard^ = because. Conf. Ed- we had most commerce.' Works, iii. 

mundes, Obs. upon Caesar's Com- 143. 

mentaries, lib. vii. cap. 1 1 : ' Next unto k that state] Lat. ilia pars populi. 

the circle, the triangular fortresse is For this somewhat rare use of state (or 

the most unperfect, first in regard it estate, the two words are used in- 

is a figure of less capacitie than any differently) for persons of a certain 

other of equall bounds.' Also, Cobbett's rank or order, conf. 'A baron is an 

State Trials (Edition 1809), vol. i. p. estate of great dignitie in blood, honour, 

1350: 'My Lord's purpose to have and habit, a peere of the Realm, and 

men planted at the court was in regard companion of princes.' Segar, Honour 

he feared hindrance by private ene- Military and Civil, bk.iv. 22, headed 'Of 

mies.' Also, ' We lost our traffic with honourable places due to great Estates.' 

the Americans, with whom, of all * received 'into custom} Lat. quaetnore 

others, in regard they lay nearest to us, sunt. 


By all means it is to be procured that the trunk of 
Nebuchadnezzar's tree of monarchy be great enough to 
bear the branches and the boughs ; that is, that the natural 
subjects of the crown or state bear a sufficient proportion 
to the stranger subjects that they govern ; therefore all 
states that are liberal of naturalization towards strangers 
are fit for empire ; for to think that a handful of people can, 
with the greatest courage and policy in the world, embrace 
too large extent of dominion, it may hold for a time but it 
will fail suddenly. The Spartans were a nice people in 10 
point of naturalization ; whereby, while they kept their 
compass, they stood firm ; but when they did spread, and 
their boughs were becomen too great for their stem, they 
became a windfall upon the sudden. Never any state was 
in this point so open to receive strangers into their body 
as were the Romans ; therefore it sorted with them n ac 
cordingly, for they grew to the greatest monarchy. Their 
manner was to grant naturalization (which they called jus 
civitatis], and to grant it in the highest degree, that is, not 
only jus commercii, jus connubii, jus haereditatis ; but also, 20 
jus suffragii, and jus honorum; and this not to singular 
persons alone, but likewise to whole families; yea, to 
cities and sometimes to nations. Add to this their custom 
of plantation of colonies, whereby the Roman plant was 
removed into the soil of other nations ; and, putting both 
constitutions together, you will say that it was not the 
Romans that spread upon the world, but it was the world 
that spread upon the Romans ; and that was the sure way 

m a nice people] i. e. sparing and of the ministers of God, by whom 

fastidious ; or, as we should now say, the rest might take notice of their 

particular about. Lat. parci et dtfficiles. faults.' Hooker, Eccl. Pol. bk. vi. 

Conf. ' A man of disputative valour chap. 4. sec. 2. 

had need be more nice of reputa- n it sorted with them] i. e. things 

tion than a man of declared valour.' turned out in their case. Lat. par erat 

Letters and Life, vi. 112. 'They made institute tarn prudenti fortuna. Conf. 

it not nice to use' (i.e. they did ' Who finding things sort to his desire.' 

not shrink from using) ' some one Works, vi. 70. 


of greatness. I have marvelled sometimes at Spain, how 
they clasp and contain so large dominions with so few 
natural Spaniards ; but sure the whole compass of Spain 
is a very great body of a tree, far above Rome and Sparta 
at the first; and besides, though they have not had that 
usage to naturalize liberally, yet they have that which is 
next to it ; that is, to employ almost indifferently all nations 
in their militia of ordinary soldiers ; yea, and sometimes in 
their highest commands; nay, it seemeth at this instant 

10 they are sensible of this want of natives ; as by the prag 
matical sanction, now published, appeareth. 

It is certain that sedentary and within-door arts and 
delicate manufactures (that require rather the finger than 
the arm), have in their nature a contrariety to a military 
disposition; and generally all warlike people are a little 
idle, and love danger better than travail; neither must 
they be too much broken of it if they shall be preserved 
in vigour : therefore it was great advantage in the ancient 
states of Sparta, Athens, Rome, and others, that they had 

20 the use of slaves, which commonly did rid p those manu 
factures; but that is abolished in greatest part by the 
Christian law. That which cometh nearest to it is to leave 
those arts chiefly to strangers (which for that purpose are 
the more easily to be received), and to contain the principal 
bulk of the vulgar natives 4 within those three kinds, tillers 
of the ground, free servants, and handicraftsmen of strong 
and manly arts, as smiths, masons, carpenters, &c., not 
reckoning professed soldiers. 

But above all, for empire and greatness it importeth 

30 most that a nation do profess arms as their principal 

contain] i.e. hold together or re- P did rid~\ i.e. did get them done, 
strain. Lat. quodfraenare possit. So Conf. 'willingness rids way.' 
below, ' to contain the principal bulk of 3 Henry VI, act v. sc. 3. 
the vulgar natives within those three The Latin is istiusmodi opificia ex- 
kinds.' 'And it is a happy thing when pediebantur. 

itself is well contained within the true P the vulgar natives] Lat. nativorum 

band of unity.' Essays. plebs. 


honour, study, and occupation ; for the things which we 
formerly have spoken of are but habilitations r towards 
arms ; and what is habilitation without intention and act ? 
Romulus, after his death (as they report or feign), sent a 
present to the Romans, that above all they should intend 8 
arms, and then they should prove the greatest empire of 
the world. The fabric of the state of Sparta was wholly 
(though not wisely) framed and composed to that scope* 
and end; the Persians and Macedonians had it for a 
flash u ; the Gauls, Germans, Goths, Saxons, Normans, 10 
and others, had it for a time : the Turks have it at this 
day, though in great declination. Of Christian Europe, 
they that have it are in effect only the Spaniards : but it is 
so plain that every man prqfiteth in that he most intendeth, 
that it needeth not to be stood upon : it is enough to point 
at it ; that no nation which doth not directly profess arms jj 
may look to have greatness fall into their mouths ; and ' 
on the other side, it is a most certain oracle of time, that 
those states that continue long in that profession (as the 
Romans and Turks principally have done) do wonders ; *o 
and those that have professed arms but for an age have, 
notwithstanding, commonly attained that greatness in that 
age which maintained them long after, when their pro 
fession and exercise of arms had grown to decay. 

Incident to this point is for a state to have those laws or 
customs which may reach forth unto them just occasions 

r habilitations] i. e. means of attain- mundes, Obs. on Caesar's Commen- 

ing ability. taries, lib. vii. cap. 15. 

8 intend} i. e. pay steady and hearty * scope] i. e. mark or object aimed 

attention to. Conf. ' I shall take to me, at. Conf. ' Other errors there are in 

in this procuration, not Martha's part the scope that men propound to them- 

to be busied in many things, but Mary's selves, whereunto they bend their 

part which is to intend your service.' endeavours.' Works, iii. 293. 

Letters and Life, iv. 391. And, ' The n a. JlasK\ i. e. something sudden, 

arrowes having barbed heads . . . are bright and shortlived. Conf. ' This 

not easily pulled out, which maketh action is not a flash, but a solid and 

the souldiers not to intend the fight settled pursuit.' Letters and Life, iv. 

untill they be delivered of them.' Ed- 122. 


(as may be pretended x ) of war ; for there is that justice 
imprinted in the nature of men, that they enter not upon 
wars (whereof so many calamities do ensue), but upon 
some at the least specious grounds and quarrels. The 
Turk hath at hand, for cause of war, the propagation of 
his law or sect, a quarrel that he may always command. 
The Romans, though they esteemed the extending the 
limits of their empire to be great honour to their generals 
when it was done, yet they never rested upon that alone 

10 to begin a war : first therefore let nations that pretend to 
greatness have this, that they be sensible of wrongs, either 
upon borderers, merchants, or politic ministers; and that 
they sit not too long upon a provocation : secondly, let 
them be prest and ready y to give aids and succours to their 
confederates ; as it ever was with the Romans ; insomuch 
as if the confederate had leagues defensive with divers 
other states, and upon invasion offered did implore their 
aids severally, yet the Romans would ever be the foremost, 
and leave it to none other to have the honour. As for the 

30 wars which were anciently made on the behalf of a kind 
of party or tacit conformity of estate, I do not see how 

z pretended] This word in itself does the least, specious grounds and quar- 

not necessarily imply that the so-called rels ; ' and most clearly of all from the 

just occasions are to have a mere pre- Latin, Justus causas ant saltern prae- 

tence of justice in them. But Bacon textus, which Bacon has recognised as 

is here concerned not so much to lay correct, since it appears also in the De 

down what are just and proper occa- Augmentis Scientiarum, Works, i. 800. 

sions for taking up arms, as what Conf. for word, ' perill by this salvage 

reasons may be found for entering on man pretended.' Fairy Queen, vi. 4. 

an aggressive war without too obvious 10. And, 'by whom his name is never 

a violation of natural justice. That this so much pretended as when deepest 

is so is clear, partly from the general treachery is meant.' Hooker, Sermon 

scope of the Essay, de proferendis IV (vol. iii. p. 813, Keble's ed. 1836). 

finibus imperil, the acquisition of terri- For the views of Bacon and others 

tory being the end aimed at, and war as to the legitimate grounds of war, 

being the appointed means : partly vide note on Essay 19. 

from the words which immediately fol- ? prest and ready} Lat. prompta sit 

low: 'for there is that justice imprinted et alacris. Conf. 'Evils prest and 

in the nature of men, that they enter ready to invade us.' Hooker, Sermon 

not upon wars, (whereof so many IV (vol. iii. p. 809, Keble's ed., 

calamities ensue) but upon some, at 1836). 


they may be well justified : as when the Romans made 
a war for the liberty of Graecia : or when the Lacedae 
monians and Athenians made wars to set up or pull down 
democracies and oligarchies : or when wars were made by 
foreigners, under the pretence of justice or protection, to 
deliver the subjects of others from tyranny and oppression ; 
and the like. Let it suffice, that no estate expect to be 
great that is not awake upon any just occasion of arming. 

No body can be healthful without exercise, neither na- 1 1 
tural body nor politic ; and certainly to a kingdom or estate 10 
a just and honourable war is the true exercise. A civil 
war indeed is like the heat of a fever ; but a foreign war is 
like the heat of exercise, and serveth to keep the body in 
health ; for in a slothful peace both courages will effeminate 
and manners corrupt : but howsoever it be for happiness, 
without all question for greatness it maketh to be still for 
the most part z in arms ; and the strength of a veteran 
army (though it be a chargeable business), always on foot, 
is that which commonly giveth the law, or at least the 
reputation amongst all neighbour states, as may well be 20 
seen in Spain, which hath had, in one part or other, a 
veteran army almost continually now by the space of six- 
score years. 

To be master of the sea is an abridgment* of a monarchy. 
Cicero, writing to Atticus of Pompey his preparation against 
Caesar, saith, Consilium Pompeii plane Themistodeum est; 
putat enim qui mart potitur eum rerum potiri; and without 
doubt Pompey had tired out Caesar if upon vain confidence 
he had not left that way. We see the great effects of 
battles by sea : the battle of Actium decided the empire of 30 
the world ; the battle of Lepanto arrested the greatness 

z still for the most part] Lat. quasi sage in the De Augm. Scient. gives 
semper. Conf. ' The best hath still ' semper obtinuisse.' Works, i. 460. 
prevailed and suppressed the rest.' " an abridgment &c.] Lat. rnonar- 

Works, iii. 291. The corresponding pas- chiae quaedam epitome est. 

P 2 


of the Turk. There be many examples where sea-fights 
have been final to the war: but this is when princes or 
states have set up their rest b upon the battles. But thus 
much is certain ; that he that commands the sea is at great 
liberty, and may take as much and as little of the war as 
he will ; whereas those that be strongest by land are many 
times nevertheless in great straits. Surely at this day 
with us of Europe the vantage of strength at sea (which 
is one of the principal dowries of this kingdom of Great 

10 Britain) is great ; both because most of the kingdoms of 

Europe are not merely c inland, but girt with the sea most 

part of their compass; and because the wealth of both 

: Indies seems in great part but an accessary to the com- 

' mand of the seas. 

The wars of latter ages seem to be made in the dark, in 
respect of the glory and honour which reflected upon men 
from the wars in ancient time. There be now, for martial 
encouragement, some degrees and orders of chivalry, which 
nevertheless are conferred promiscuously upon soldiers 

20 and no soldiers ; and some remembrance perhaps upon 
the scutcheon, and some hospitals for maimed soldiers, 
and such like things; but in ancient times, the trophies 
erected upon the place of the victory; the funeral lauda- 
tives and monuments for those that died in the wars ; 
the crowns and garlands personal; the style of emperor d 
which the great kings of the world after borrowed; the 
triumphs of the generals upon their return ; the great 
donatives and largesses upon the disbanding of the armies, 

b have set up their resf] i. e. have chief, but sometimes employed as a 

staked everything. Lat. cum aleae special title of honour for distinguished 

hujusmodi praeliorum totius bellifortuna military service. Conf. ' Sed hoc 

commissa est. Vide Notes and Illustra- primum faciam, ut Imperatores appel- 

tions at end of Essay. lem eos, quorum virtute, consilio, feli- 

c not merely] i. e. not entirely. Lat. citate, maximis periculis servitutis 

mediterranea simpliciter non sunt. atque interitus liberati sumus.' Cicero, 

d emperor] i. e. imperator, not only Philipp. xiv. 4. sec. 1 1, and pas- 

the ordinary name of a commander-in- sim. 


were things able to inflame all men's courages ; but above 
all, that of the triumph amongst the Romans was not 
pageants or gaudery 6 , but one of the wisest and noblest 
institutions that ever was ; for it contained three things ; 
honour to the general, riches to the treasury out of the 
spoils, and donatives to the army: but that honour per 
haps were not fit for monarchies, except it be in the 
person of the monarch himself or his sons; as it came 
to pass in the times of the Roman emperors, who did 
impropriate the actual triumphs to themselves and their 10 
sons for such wars as they did achieve in person, and left 
only for wars achieved by subjects some triumphal gar 
ments and ensigns to the general. 

To conclude : no man can by by care taking (as the 
Scripture saith), add a cubit to his stature in this little 
model f of a man's body ; but in the great frame of king 
doms and commonwealths it is in the power of princes or 
estates to add amplitude and greatness to their kingdoms ; 
.for by introducing such ordinances, constitutions, and 
customs, as we have now touched, they may sow great- 2 
ness to their posterity and succession : but these things 
are commonly not observed, but left to take their chance. . 


This Essay, in its final form, was first published as part of the 
De Augmentis Scientiarum. Its subject is there given as one of 
the ' tria officia politica, primo ut imperium conservetur : secundo ut 
beatum efficiatur et florens : tertio ut amplificetur finesque ejus 
longius proferantur : de duobus primis officiis maxima ex parte 
egregie a nonnullis tractatum est : de tertio siletur. Illud itaque 
inter desiderata reponemus et more nostro Exemplum ejus pro- 

6 gaudery~\ i.e. things showy and ' model~\ i.e. plan. The words 

worthless. Lat. spectaculum quoddam mean therefore in a man's body, this 

inane. Conf. ' An idle gaud thing on a small plan. 

Which in my childhood I did dote upon.' 
Midsummer Night's Dream, iv.i. 


ponemus ; earn doctrinae partem Consulem paludatum sine doctrinam 
de proferendis imperil finibus nominantes.' Works, i. 792. 

This latter is kept as the title of the Essay in the Latin version. 
The English title is misleading. The promise which it implies is 
not observed. The ' true greatness ' of which Bacon writes is great 
ness in extent of territory, acquired or held by arms, and the 
counsels which he gives are subsidiary to this. Military strength 
is thus put forward as the grand object at which a statesman ought 
to aim. This strength he must seek or invent occasions to employ. 
So only can he hope that his country will attain the true greatness 
which comes of an extended territory. The thing is to be done upon 
a plan. There is danger in over-extension with no corresponding 
strength to maintain it. But this danger may be averted if the 
general policy of the country is shaped properly. Extension of 
territory demands care and forethought. For those who aspire to 
it, Rome is the most fit model. There must not only be readiness 
to pick quarrels, but there must be strength and numbers competent 
to maintain them and go through with them and to hold the spoil 
when it has been won. The state which proceeds thus will gain 
the desired end, and the glory and greatness which it brings. 

This laudation of war and of warlike arts seems out of place in 
the mouth of one who claims to be the special advocate of science 
and of industrial progress. It is out of agreement with what Bacon 
has written elsewhere in praise of peace, most notably in his letter 
of advice to Sir George Villiers : ' For matter of war, either by land 
or sea, your gracious Master [is] so settled in his judgment for 
peace, as he hath chosen for his motto that part of our Saviour's 
beatitudes, Beati pacifici. It is a happiness to this nation to be in 
this blessed condition.' Letters and Life, vi. 20. Compare this with 
the Essay, passim, 

' Above all for empire and greatness, it importeth most that a 
nation do profess arms as their principal honour, study and occu 
pation : for the things of which we formerly have spoken of are but 
habilitations towards arms, and what is habilitation without intention 
and act ? No body can be healthful without exercise . . . and certainly 
to a kingdom or estate, a just and honourable war is the true 
exercise,' c. It cannot be said that Bacon in his Essay is speaking 
in praise of readiness for defensive war, the necessity of which he 
admits and urges in his letter to Sir George Villiers. The Essay 
strikes another note. The State, as Bacon would have it, is ' to have 
those laws or customs which may reach forth unto them just 
occasions (as may be pretended) of war.' Lat. justas causas aut saltern 
praetextus, arma capessendl. These are recommended as essential to 
the main design by which the nation's policy is to be moulded the 
acquisition of territory, or, as Bacon here terms it, 'true greatness.' 


An explanation may perhaps be found in the history of the Essay. 
The germ of the Essay is found in a paper on ' the true greatness 
of the kingdom of Britain,' written in 1608, but not published. The 
design of the paper is to recommend for Britain the policy of 
territorial acquisitiveness which the Essay recommends in more 
general terms, and to prove that Britain is fitted in every way for 
adopting it with success. Bacon, at this date, had just begun to 
mount, after a long series of disappointments. In 1607 he had been 
made Solicitor-General, and he was looking out eagerly for further 
advancement. Some passages in his private memoranda show the 
schemes by which he was hoping to rise. Salisbury was the peace- 
minister of a peace-loving master. If James could be tempted away 
from his love of peace, he might need a new agent to carry out a 
new policy. This therefore Bacon was planning to bring about. 
Persuade the king in glory, ' Aurea condet saecula.' ' Succeed 
Salisbury and amuse the King and Prince with pastime and glory.' 
' Finishing my treatise of the greatness of Britain with aspect ad 
politiam.' ' The fairest ... is the general persuading to King and 
people, and course of infusing everywhere the foundation in this isle 
of a monarchy in the west, as an apt seat state people for it : so 
civilizing Ireland, further colonizing the wild of Scotland. Annexing 
the Low Countries.' Letters and Life, iv. 73 and 74. The memo 
randa and the paper thus explain one another. Their author was 
looking out for advancement, and he chose his means accordingly. 
We need not suppose that he had any love for war, or that he 
thought that the aim after territorial greatness would bring any 
benefit to his country. If it served himself, it was enough, and he 
put together his first paper with aspect ad politiam, to be used as 
the occasion might offer. The occasion was to come but not yet, 
and the paper remained unpublished and unused. In the second 
edition of the Essays, published in 1612, there appears a short Essay 
' on the greatness of kingdoms,' in which an honourable foreign war 
is spoken of as ' one of several means of exercise by which a state 
may keep healthe,' and is preferred to 'a slothful peace.' In the 
corresponding sentence in the edition of 1625, there is nothing said 
about the other means of exercise, and war is declared to be ' the true 
exercise without which no Body politic can be healthful.' Will it be 
doing Bacon an injustice to assume that in his Essay, as in his paper 
addressed to the Prince in favour of a war with Spain (Letters and 
Life, vii. 460), he was suiting his statements to the time, and that 
finding Charles and Buckingham the ruling influences in the State 
and eagerly pressing forward the war with Spain, he threw the 
weight of his authority into the heavier scale, and became the open 
panegyrist of war, just as at an earlier date and for like reasons he 
had been eloquent in the praise of peace ? 


P. 202, 1. 2. haughty and arrogant] As Plutarch tells the story in his 
life of Themistocles it was a defensive arrogance. Conf. ' Being 
mocked afterwards by some that had studied humanity and other 
liberall sciences, he was driven for revenge and his owne defence 
to answer with great and stout words, saying that indeed he could 
no skill to tune a harp nor a violl, nor to play of a psalterion : but if 
they did put a city into his hands that was of small name weake and 
litle, he knew wayes inough to make it noble, strong, and great.' 
Plutarch, Lives, p. 117, North's Trans. 

In the Life of Cimon a different version is given of it. ' Ion 
writeth that he being but a young boy, newly come from Chio unto 
Athens, supped one night with Cimon at Laomedon's house, and 
that after supper when they had given the gods thankes, Cimon was 
intreated by the company to sing. And he did sing with so good 
a grace, that every man praised him that heard him, and sayd he 
was more curteous then Themistocles farre : who being in like 
company, and requested also to play upon the citherne, answered 
them, he was never taught to sing nor play upon the citherne, 
howbeit he could make a poor village to become a rich and mightie 
citie.' p. 498. 

1. 21. There are also &c.] Bacon ranks this lowest among the ' degrees 
of honour in subjects;' vid. Essay 55. It is the kind of ability with 
which he credits his cousin, the Earl of Salisbury, when he is writing 
about him after his death : ' If I should praise him in propriety I 
should say that he was a fit man to keep things from growing worse, 
but no very fit man to reduce things to be much better.' Letters and 
Life, iv. 279, and note on page 278. Of the living Earl he speaks in 
very different terms ; iv. 12. 

1. 22. negotiis pares, able to manage affairs] That is, a match for 
business as it presents itself, although not able to strike out an 
original plan of their own. ' Par negotiis neque supra erat ' is the 
depreciatory praise which Tacitus gives to an administrator of the 
type which Bacon is describing. Ann. vi. 39. 

P. 203, 1. 26. as Virgil saith] 

1 Hie tantum Boreae curamus frigora quantum 
Aut numerum lupus, aut torrentia flumina ripas.' 

Eel. vii. 51, 52. 

Forbiger, following Heyne, explains this that the wolf will pay no 
regard to the fact that the sheep have been counted over by the 
shepherd, so that all that he takes will be missed. Conington in 
terprets the line as Bacon does. 

1. 28. The army of the Persians &c.j 'The auncient captaines of the 
Macedonians, specially Parmenio, seeing all the valley betwixt the 
river of Niphates and the mountaines of the Gordieians all on a 


bright light with the fires of the barbarous people, and hearing a 
dreadfull noise as of a confused multitude of people that filled their 
campe with the sound thereof; they were amazed, and consulted 
that in one day it was in maner impossible to fight a battell with 
such an incredible multitude of people. Thereupon they went unto 
Alexander after he had ended his ceremonies, and did counsell him 
to give battell by night, because the darknesse thereof should helpe 
to keepe all feare from his men, which the sight of their enemies 
would bring them into. But then he gave them this notable answer : 
I will not steale victorie, quoth he.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 689. 

P. 204, 1. 1. When Tigranes &c.] ' The Romaines seemed but a hand- 
full to Tigranes campe, so that for awhile Tigranes parasites made but 
a May-game of them to sport withall . . . Tigranes then because he 
would shew that he could be as pleasant as the rest, spake a thing 
knowne to every man : If they come as Ambassadors (quoth he) they 
are very many: but if they come as enemies they be but few.' 
Plutarch, Lives, 525. 

1. 12. the sinews of war] 'Nervos belli, pecuniam infinitam.' Cic. 
Philipp. v. 2. ' Sed nihil aeque fatigabat quam pecuniarum conqui- 
sitio : eos esse belli civilis nervos dictitans Mucianus.' Tac. Hist. ii. 
84. Conf. also, ' He that first said that money was the sinew of all 
things, spake it chiefly, in my opinion, in respect of the wars.' 

Plutarch, Lives, p. 818. inrortr^Tai TO. vfvpa TU>V irpayfidrav is cited 

by Aeschines as a phrase used by Demosthenes in Ctesiph. p. 77, 
1. 28. Tov nXovTov vfvpa Trpay/jLOTaiv is given by Diogenes Laertius 
among the sayings of Bion ; Bk. iv. sec. 48. ' Quum sese sociorum 
. . . sanguine implerint, incidant nervos Populi Romani, adhibeant 
manus vectigalibus vestris, irrumpant in aerarium.' Cic. De Lege 
Agraria, bk. ii. cap. 18. ' Vectigalia nervos esse Reipublicae semper 
duximus.' Pro Lege Manilia, cap. 7. 'Emptio frumenti ipsos 
Reipublicae nervos exhauriebat aerarium.' Florus, Epitome, iii. 
13. 9. ' Especially remember that money is nervus belli' is also King 
James' remark. Basil. Doron, bk. ii. 

On the other side, conf. ' Nor is there anything more false than 
that common opinion that affirms Moneys to be the sinews of warre 
. . . which sentence is alledgd every day, and followed, too, by some 
Princes not quite so wise as they should be ... Among other things 
that Croesus King of Lydia shewd to Solon the Athenian was a 
Treasure unmeasurable ; and asking him what he thought of his 
power, Solon answered him, he thought him no whit the more 
powerful for that, for warre was made with iron and not with gold, 
and some one might come who had more iron than he and take his 
gold from him . . . Wherefore I say that gold, as the common opinion 
cryes it up, is not the sinews of warre, but a good armie of stout 
souldiers : for gold is not sufficient to finde good souldiers, but good 


souldiers are able well to find out gold.' Machiavelli, Discourses on 
Livy, ii. 10. 

The Emperor Charles V took a middle view, but he comes finally 
to much the same conclusion as Machiavelli : ' Nervos belli esse 
pecuniam, comrneatus, milites ; verum si ex iis aliquo carendum 
esset, militem veteranum se electurum esse, cujus industria et for- 
titudine reliqua duo se ex hoste comparaturum considered' De 
Carolo V imperatore, oratio Davidis Chythraei. 

1. 14. Solon said well &c.] This and much else of this part of 
the Essay appears also in Bacon's speech for general naturalization. 
Letters and Life, iii. 323. 

The story of Solon and Croesus is from Lucian : 

2OA. Etrre poi, cridrjpos Se (frverat ev A.v8ia ; 

KPOI2. Ov travv n . . . 

2OA. *Ap' ovv, fjv Kupos 1 (a>s AoyoTroiouo-t rives) firirj AuSoTf, xpixras paxaipas 
ov iroirjcrrj ra> (rrparw, rj 6 ari8r)pos avayKalos Tore ] 

KPOI2. 'O a-i8rjpos SqXaSiy. 

2O A. Kal e'iyf p.rj TOVTOV Trapatrtfeucicraio, oi^oiro av trot 6 xpvabs S Hep&as 

KPOI2. Ev(f>, a> avdpanre. Charon, sive Contemplantes. 

1. 22. mercenary forces] Conf. Machiavelli, II Principe, cap. xii : 
' Le mercenarie ed auxiliarj sono inutile e pericolose, e se uno tiene 
lo stato suo fondato in su le armi mercenarie, non stara mai fermo ne 
sicuro, perche le sono disunite ambiziose, e senza disciplina, infedeli 
&c. ... La cagione di questo e, che le non hanno altro amore ne 
altra cagione che le tenga in campo, che un poco di stipendio, il quale 
non e sufficiente a fare che e' vogliano morire per te . . . La qual cosa 
dovrei durar poca fatica a persuadere, perche la rovina d' Italia non 
e ora causata da altra cosa che per essere in spazio di mold anni 
riposatasi in sulle armi mercenarie . . . Onde e che a Carlo re di 
Francia fu lecito pigliare Italia col gesso,' &c. 

He further instances the Carthaginians, the Milanese, the Neapo 
litans and others from ancient and from modern times. 'Admo- 
nendi quoque sunt principes ut potius proprio milite quam externo 
(qui non tarn pro gloria quam stipendio militant) in bello utantur,' 
&c. Reasons and illustrations are added. Ayala, De jure et officiis 
bellicis, iii. 4. 16. 

1. 30. taxes, levied by consent &c.] So Howel, writing from Amster 
dam in 161:9, says, "Twere cheap living here, were it not for the 
monstrous Accises which are impos'd upon all sorts of Commodities 
both for Belly and Back ; for the Retailer payes the States almost 
the one Moity as much as he payed for the Commodity at first, nor 
doth any murmur at it, because it goes not to any Favorit, or private 
Purse, but to preserve them from the Spaniard, their common enemy 
as they term him ; so that the saying is truly verified here, Defend 


me, and spend me. With this accise principally, they maintain all 
their Armies by Sea and Land, with their Garrisons at home and 
abroad, both here and in the Indies, and defray all other public 
charges besides.' Familiar Letters, vol. i. letter 7. p. 12 (ed. 1678). 

Conf. also Essay 14 : ' The United Provinces of the Low Countries 
in their government excel ; for where there is an equality the 
consultations are more indifferent and the payments and tributes 
more cheerful.' 

Sir Thomas Overbury, in his Observations on the xvii Provinces, 
speaks of their public revenue, in [609, as derived from, inter alia, 
'Taxes upon all things at home, and Impositions upon all mer 
chandizes from abroad.' The people he describes as 'Just, surly, 
and respectlesse, as in all democracies.' Fide ed. 1626, small 4to., 
pp. 5 and 8. 

P. 205, 1. 9. Let states that aim c.] Conf. ' It hath been held by the 
general opinion of men of best judgment in the wars . . . that the 
principal strength of an army consisteth in the infantry or foot. And 
to make good infantry it requireth men bred not in a servile or 
indigent fashion, but in some free and plentiful manner. Therefore 
if a state run most to noblemen and gentlemen, and that the husband 
men and ploughmen be but as their workfolks or labourers, or else 
mere cottagers (which are but housed beggars) you may have a good 
cavalry but never good stable bands of foot ; like to coppice woods, 
that if you leave in them staddles too thick, they will run to bushes 
and briars, and have little clean underwood. And this is to be seen 
in France and Italy (and some other parts abroad), where in effect 
all is noblesse or peasantry (I speak of people out of towns), and no 
middle people : and therefore no good forces of foot,' &c. Works, vi. 

94, 95- 

1. 19. which is the nerve of an army] Conf. ' The ground-worke 
and the very nerves of the armie, and whereof most account is to be 
made, is the Infantery. And among the Italian princes faults, which 
have enthrall'd Italy to strangers, there is none greater than this that 
they made no account of this order and turnd all their regard of 
horsemen . . . Which custome, together with many other disorders 
intermixt with it, hath much weakened the Italian Souldiery, so that 
this country hath easily been troden under foot by all strangers.' 
Machiavelli, Discourses, ii. 18. 

P. 206, 1. 3. which the peasants of France do nof] Conf. ' Le fanterie che 
si fanno in Francia non possono essere molto buone, perche gli e 
gran tempo che non hanno avuto guerra, e per questo non hanno 
sperienza alcuna. E dipoi sono per le terre tutti ignobili e genti di 
mestiero, e stanno tanto sotto-posti a nobili, e tanto sono in ogni 
azione depress!, che sono vili, e pero si vede che il re nelle guerre 
non si serve di loro, perche fanno cattiva prova, benche vi siano i 


Guasconi, de" quali il re si serve, che sono un poco migliori che gli 
altri . . . Ma hanno fatto, per quello che si e visto da mold anni in 
qua, piu prova di ladri che di valenti uomini.' Machiavelli, Ritratti 
delle cose di Francia. Works, vol. iv. p. 135 (ed. 1813). 

And, ' The meere peasants that labour the ground, they are only 
spunges to the King, the Church, and the nobility, having nothing of 
their own, but to the use of them, and are scarce allowed (as Beasts) 
enough to keep them able to do service.' Overbury, Obs. on the 
xvii provinces, of the Archduke's county and of France, p. 16 
(ed. 1626). 

' The weaknesse of it (i. e. of France) are first the want of a 
sufficient Infantry, which proceeds from the ill distribution of their 
wealth ; for the Peysant, which containes the greatest part of the 
people, having no share allowed him is heartlesse and feeble and 
consequently unserviceable for all military uses.' p. 19. 

1. 3. herein the device &c.] Conf. Essay 15, p. 108, on the legislation 
about farms and pasturages. 

1. u. VirgiFs character} Aen. i. 531. 

1. 14. Neither is that state &c.] The feudal custom which Bacon 
here praises as conducing to martial greatness was not found to 
conduce to peace at home, and it was discouraged accordingly and 
attempts were made to put a check upon it by legal enactments. 
Conf. inter alia, i Henry IV, cap. 7, by which, 'to eschew maintenance 
and to nourish love, peace, and quietness in all parts, the giving or 
wearing of liveries (the recognized dress of dependents and retainers) 
is forbidden.' By 7 Henry IV, cap. 14, ' liveries are forbidden to all 
but menials and officers of the household.' By 8 Henry VI, cap. 4, 
none are to buy or wear livery to have maintenance in any quarrel. 
In 8 Edward IV, cap. 2, daily offences are said to have been com 
mitted against former laws; the laws are therefore renewed and 
provision is made for due execution of them. These and other 
earlier and later statutes to the same effect are recited and repealed 
by 3 Charles I, cap. 4 (5). They were in force therefore in Bacon's 
time. In Mary's reign 39 licences were granted for wearing 
liveries : in Elizabeth's reign 15, in James the First's a larger 
number. What view Henry VII took of 'great retinues' we learn 
from a story in Bacon's life of him : 

' There remaineth to this day a report, that the King was on a time 
entertained by the Earl of Oxford (that was his principal servant 
both for war and peace) nobly and sumptuously, at his castle at 
Henningham. And at the King's going away, the Earl's servants 
stood in a seemly manner in their livery coats with cognizances 
ranged on both sides, and made the King a lane. The King called 
the Earl to him, and said, " My lord, I have heard much of your 
hospitality, but I see it is greater than the speech. These handsome 


gentlemen and yeomen which I see on both sides of me are (sure) 
your menial servants." The Earl smiled and said, " It may please 
your Grace, that were not for mine ease. They are most of them 
my retainers, that are comen to do me service at such a time as this, 
and chiefly to see your Grace." The King started a little, and said, 
" By my faith, (my lord) I thank you for my good cheer, but I may 
not endure to have my laws broken in my sight. My attorney must 
speak with you." And it is part of the report, that the Earl com 
pounded for no less than fifteen thousand marks.' Works, vi. 220. 

Mr. Spedding adds, in a note, that a heavier fine for a similar 
offence was exacted from Lord Abergavenny some years afterwards. 
In a memorandum of sums received by Edmund Dudley for fines to 
be paid to the King, the following item appears : ' Item : delivered 
three exemplifications under the seal of the L. of King's Bench of 
the confession and condemnation of the Lord Burgavenny for such 
retainers as he was indicted of in Kent : which amounteth unto for 
his part only after the rate of the months 6o,,9oo/.' 

Sir Thomas More speaks of ' that state,' but not as approvingly as 
Bacon does. Conf. ' There is a great numbre of gentlemen, which 
cannot be content to live idle themselves . . . but also carrye about 
with them at their tailes a great flocke or traine of idle and loyterynge 
servyngmen, which never learned any craft wherby to gette their 
livynges.' Trans, of More's Utopia, Arber's Reprint, p. 38. 

P. 207, 1. 2. Nebuchadnezzar's tree] Daniel iv. 10 et seqq. 

1. 2. Be great enough to bear &c.] This simile is from Machiavelli, 
who applies it, as Bacon does, to Sparta, as contrasted with Rome : 
' Those that intend a city should farre inlarge the bounds of her 
dominions, ought withall indeavour provide that she be well fraught 
with inhabitants : for without a great multitude of men in her she 
will never be able to grow great. And this is done two wayes, 
either by love or by force ; by love, holding the wayes open and 
secure to strangers that might have a deseigne to come and dwell in 
it, to the end that everyone might come willingly to inhabit it. By 
force, ruining and defaceing the neighbour cities and sending out the 
inhabitants thereof to dwell in thine : all which was punctually 
observed in Rome . . . And that this course was necessary and 
good for the founding and inlarging of an Empire, the example of 
Sparta and Athens shewes us plaine . . . Which proceeded not 
from that the scituation of Rome was more bountifull than theirs, but 
onely from the different course they tooke : for Licurgus, founder of 
the Spartan Republique, considering that nothing could sooner take 
away the power of his lawes than a commixture of new inhabitants, 
did what he could to hinder strangers from living with them . . . And 
because all our actions imitate nature, it is neither possible nor 
naturall that the slender body of a tree should beare a grosse bow ; 


therefore a small Republique cannot hold cities nor kingdoms of 
greater power and strength than she herselfe is ; and if perchance it 
comes to passe that she layes hold on them, it befalls her as it does 
that tree the bowes whereof are greater than the body, that sustaining 
it with much adoe, with every small blast it is broken, as we see it 
happened to Sparta . . . Which could never befall Rome, having her 
body and stocke so huge that it was of force with ease to support any 
bow whatsoever.' Discourses on Livy, ii. cap. 3. 

1. 14. Never any state was &c.] ' The authority of Nicholas 
Machiavel seemeth not to be contemned ; who enquiring the causes 
of the growth of the Roman empire, doth give judgment there was 
not one greater than this, that the state did so easily compound and 
incorporate with strangers.' Letters and Life, iii. 96. 

1. 17. Their manner was &c.] It is hardly correct to term this 
the 'manner ' of the Romans. It was a concession which they were 
forced to make under the strain of the Social war, B. c. 90. Before 
this time the 'jus civitatis ' did not, in the great majority of cases, 
carry with it more than imperfect rights of citizenship. Its pos 
sessors had not the franchise, the 'jus suffragii ' and the 'jus 
honorum,' nor was it any part of the design of Rome in the settle 
ment of Italy to make a wholesale grant of the fuller privileges which 
she was unable finally to withhold. 

P. 208, 1. 2. so few natural Spaniards] Conf. ' Spain is a nation thin 
sown of people ; partly by reason of the sterility of the soil, and 
partly because their natives are exhausted by so many employments 
in such vast territories as they possess. So that it hath been 
accounted a kind of miracle to see ten or twelve thousand native 
Spaniards in an army . . . They tell a tale of a Spanish ambassador 
that was brought to see the treasury of S. Mark at Venice, and still 
he looked down to the ground ; and being asked why he so looked 
down, said he was looking to see whether their treasure had any root (so 
that if it were spent it would grow again] as his master's had. But how 
soever it be of their treasure, certainly their forces have scarce any 
root ; or at least such a root as buddeth forth poorly and slowly.' 
Letters and Life, vii. 499. 

1. 9. their highest commands] E. g. Several of their commanders 
came from a Roman family the Colonna. Alexander Farnese, 
Prince of Parma, was put in chief command in the Netherlands on 
their revolt against Philip II. Spinola, a Genoese by birth, was also 
commander-in-chief of their armies at a later period of the revolt. 
There are numerous other instances. 

1. 10. ' pragmatical sanction,' now published] Lat. hoc anno promul- 
gata, i. e. in 1622, the date at which the Essay was published in its 
original form as part of the De Augmentis Scientiarum. The 
pragmatic sanction here referred to was published by Philip IV soon 


after his accession. It gave certain privileges to persons who 
married and further immunities to those who had six children. In 
this, and in other points, it seems to have been a first attempt to give 
effect to the recommendations made in 1619 by the council of Castile, 
whose report on the state of the country and the reasons and 
remedies is known as the Gran Consulta de 1619. The report speaks 
very strongly of the distress and depopulation of the Castilian 
provinces, and assigns as its main causes the excessive and oppres 
sive taxation, the increase of luxury and the non-residence of the 
rich on their estates. That something was thought due to the 
increase in the number of religious houses may also be assumed from 
the recommendation to the king to be cautious in granting them new 
licences. The substance of this note is taken from Mr. Spedding's 
note on the corresponding passage in the De Aug. Scient. Works, i. 

P. 209, 1. 4. Romulus] This was the message, as Livy tells it, con 
veyed to the Romans by Proculus Julius, to whom Romulus appeared 
after his death : ' Abi, nuntia, inquit, Romanis caelestes ita velle ut 
mea Roma caput orbis terrarum sit : proinde rem militarem colant ; 
sciantque et ita posteris tradant nullas opes humanas armis Romanis 
resistere posse.' Bk. i. cap. 16. 

1. ii. the Turks have it at this day &c.] Busbequius, in his ' De re 
militari contra Turcam instituenda consilium,' contrasts the unity 
and discipline and severe manners of the Turks with the laxity and 
disunion of the Christian powers, and he dreads accordingly the 
conflict which he foresees between the two. In the previous century 
Camerarius, 'De rebus TurcicisCommentarii,' writes in the same sense. 

P. 211, 1. 1. as when the Romans &c.] In the second Macedonian war, 
one chief ground of quarrel between the Romans and King Philip of 
Macedon was the refusal of the King to withdraw his garrisons and 
to leave Greece free. When the war ended with the victory of the 
Romans, the result was proclaimed by a herald at the Isthmian 
Games, B. c. 196, in the following words : ' " Senatus Romanus et 
T. Quintius Imperator, Philippo Rege Macedonibusque devictis, 
liberos, immunes, suis legibus esse jubet Corinthios, Phocenses, 
Locrensesque omnes, et insulam Euboeam, et Magnetas, Thessalos, 
Perrhaebos, Achaeos Phthiotas." Percensuerat omnes gentes quae 
sub ditione Philippi regis fuerant.' Livy, bk. xxxiii. chap. 32. 

The benefit was received with a mixed surprise and gratitude, 
'esse aliquam in terris gentem quae sua impensa, suo labore et 
periculo bella gerat pro libertate aliorum,' &c., chap. 33. But the 
demand of the Romans upon Philip must be reckoned among the 
' praetextus arma capessendi ' rather than among the ' justae aut 
verae causae.' 

1. 2. when the Lacedaemonians &c.] The Peloponnesian war, 


in which the two contending parties supported and received support 
from the oligarchical and democratical factions respectively, affords 
frequent examples of this. Ol p,ev AaKf8uip,6vioi oi^ vTroreXels 

(popov TOVS ^v/jifid^ovs fjyovvro, KCLT 6\iyap\iav 8e crfpi&iv avrois fiovov 
8ei(os OTTtas TroXiTevaaxri depairfvovres. Thucyd. bk. i. cap. 19. During 

the course of the war, the establishment of an oligarchy or a 
democracy was the sign and attendant of a revolt to the Lacedae 
monian or Athenian side, and was aided and resisted accordingly. 
' To set up or pull down democracies and oligarchies ' became thus 
an essential part of the conduct of the war and must not be judged 
as an uncalled-for piece of interference with the affairs of a 
neighbouring state. 

1. ii. war is the true exercise'] This laudation of war goes far 
beyond the language of 1612: 'An honourable forraine war is like 
the heate of exercise. At least, discoveries, navigations, honourable 
succours of other States may keepe health.' In 1625 we find terms 
of praise added, and the alternatives omitted. 

1. 12. like the heat of a fever] This simile appears elsewhere in 
Bacon. Conf. ' Then followeth ... an offer of an usurpation, though 
it was but asfebris ephemera.' Works, iii. 336. 

' The King of Scotland labouring of the same disease that King 
Henry did (though more mortal as afterwards appeared) that is, 
discontented subjects apt to rise and raise tumult;' Works, vi. 62; 
' and when the King was advertised of this new insurrection, being 
almost a fever that took him every year ; ' p. 89. 

It had been used by Montaigne, in a like contrast between foreign 
and civil war : ' II y en a plusieurs en ce temps qui discourent de 
pareille fagon, souhaitants que cette esmotion chalereuse qui est 
parmi nous se peust deriver a quelque guerre voisine, de peur que 
ces humeurs peccantes qui dominent pour cette heure nostre corps, 
si on ne les escoule ailleurs, maintiennent nostre fiebvre tousjours en 
force, et apportent enfin nostre entiere ruine.' Essays, bk. ii. 
chap. 23. 

1. 14. a slothful peace] So Bacon, writing in 1592, says, ' It is a 
better condition of an inward peace to be accompanied with some 
exercise of no dangerous war in foreign parts, than to be. utterly 
without apprentisage of war, whereby people grow effeminate and 
unpractised when occasion shall be.' Letters and Life, i. 174. 

1. 25. Cicero, writing to Atticus] ' Pompeium . . . cujus omne 
consilium Themistocleum est ; existimat enim, qui mare teneat, eum 
necesse (esse) rerum potiri.' Ad Atticum, x. 8. 

P. 212, 1. 3. have set up their rest] This phrase is explained by Nares 
(Glossary) as ' a metaphor from primero : meaning to stand upon the 
cards you have in your hand. Hence, to make up your mind ; to be 


This is not accurate. The stake at primero and the rest were 
not the same. The stake appears to have been the sum played 
for in any case : the rest was a further sum ventured by a player 
who held cards strong enough to warrant him in forcing the game. 
Conf. ' What is the sum that we play for ? Two shillings stake and 
eight shillings rest.' Singer, Hist, of Playing Cards, Chap, on 
Primero. Cavendish (Card Essays, pp. 57 et seqq.) gives an account 
of the ' principal features of primero, as far as they can be made out 
from old descriptions which are very obscure.' There are numerous 
illustrative stories and quotations in both the above writers. 

For the metaphor in the text, conf. Letters and Life, vii. p. 488 : 
' They durst not put it to a battle at sea, but set up their rest wholly 
upon the land enterprise.' 

Also, North's Plutarch's Lives, p. 945 : ' Then Antonius, seeing 
there was no way more honourable for him to die than fighting 
valiantly ; he determined to set up his rest both by sea and land.' 

For the derived use of the phrase = to make up your mind, to be 
determined, conf. Letters and Life, i. 345 : ' I do write this, not to 
solicit your Lordship to stand firm in assisting me, . . . but to acquaint 
your Lordship with my resolution to set up my rest and employ my 
uttermost strength to get him placed before the term.' 

The phrase is of frequent occurrence in both the above senses. 

1. 9. principal dowries] Conf. Advice to Villiers, where Bacon 
states in detail the various advantages which England has over other 
nations in building and manning ships. Letters and Life, vi. 44, 45. 

And, ' Your majesty's dominion and empire comprehendeth all the 
islands of the north-west ocean, where it is open, until you come to 
the imbarred or frozen sea towards Iceland : in all which tract it 
hath no intermixture or interposition of any foreign land, but only of 
the sea, whereof you are also absolutely master.' Of the true 
greatness of Britain, Works, vii. 54. 

The early part of Hakluyt abounds with facts or legends on the 
English mastery over the sea, from the time of King Edgar down 

Conf. also, 'The politie of keeping the Sea' (date early in isth 
century). Hakluyt, i. 207 : ' For foure things our Noble sheweth to 
me ; King, Ship, and Swerde, and power of the see.' A note at the 
margin adds, ' Quatuor considerantur in moneta aurea Anglica quae 
dicitur Nobile : scilicet Rex, Navis, gladius et Mare. Quae designant 
potestatem Anglicorum super mare.' 

Selden's Mare Clausum, bk. ii, asserts, with proofs, this sovereignty 
of England over the sea from the earliest times. He claims the 
dominion of the sea as an ancient and inseparable appendage to the 
ownership of the land of Britain. He begins by fixing the limits of 
this dominion. Over the narrow seas the dominion is complete. It 



extends to the East and South as far as the shores of the opposite 
European countries. To the North and West it is complete for 
some uncertain distance, and extends beyond this in a somewhat 
modified form. He does not claim the whole Atlantic to the West 
Indies, and the whole stretch of sea to the North as comprised 
within English dominion, but he goes far in both directions, and 
claims special rights over the whole. He cites numerous instances 
in which this sovereignty was either held or asserted or admitted, 
e.g. in cap. xxiii, Edward III writes to Geoffry de Say, Commander 
of the Southern and Western Sea, ' Nos advertentes quod progeni- 
tores nostri, Reges Angliae, domini Maris Anglicani circumquaque, 
et etiam defensores contra hostium invasiones exstiterint ; et pluri- 
mum nos taederet si honor noster regius in defensione hujusmodi 
nostris (quod absit) depereat temporibus, aut in aliquo minuatur,' &c. 

He writes also in like terms to John de Norwich, Commander of 
the Northern Sea. His Parliament is shown to have addressed him 
by the title of ' Maris Rex.' 

Henry the Fifth's Parliament uses language to the same import, 
* cum Rex, dominus noster supremus, et illustres ejus progenitores, 
perpetuo fuerint Domini Maris.' This is Selden's translation of the 
original Norman-French. Prynne, in the course of his ' Anim 
adversions on Coke's Institutes,' covers the same ground. Conf. 
especially cap. xxii, where he enumerates successive acts and 
claims of ownership from A. D. 905 onwards. 

An instance of the claim to dominion over the sea, conclusive if 
authentic, is found in the ordinance issued by King John, A. D. 1200, 
that every ship meeting his fleet at sea should lower her sails at the 
command of his admiral, on pain of seizure and forfeiture. But 
Sir N. H. Nicolas, in his History of the Royal Navy, i. 154-157, gives 
reasons against its authenticity. 

But see, per contra : ' There belongs to this State 20,000 vessels of 
all sorts, so that if the Spaniard were entirely beaten out of those 
parts, the Kings of France and England would take as much paines 
to suppresse as ever they did to raise them : For being our Enemies, 
they are able to give us the law at Sea, and eat us out of all trade, 
much more the French, having at this time three ships for our one, 
though none so good as our best.' Overbury, Obs. on xvii provinces, 


' We were too strong for him (the Spaniard) at sea, and had the 
Hollanders to help us, who are now strongest of all.' Raleigh, 
Discourse touching a Marriage of Henry, Prince of Wales ; Lans- 
downe MSS. 213. 

1. 12. wealth of both Indies] Conf. ' Spaine hath the advantage of 
both the rest in treasure, but is defective in men ; his dominions are 
scattered and the conveyance of his treasure from the Indies lyes 


obnoxious to the power of any nation that is stronger by sea.' 
Overbury, Obs. on the xvii provinces, &c. p. 21. 

And, in Bacon's ' Notes of a Speech concerning a war with Spain : ' 
'If we truly consider the greatness of Spain, it consisteth chiefly in 
their treasure ; and their treasure in the Indies and their Indies 
(both of them) is but an accession to such as are masters by sea,' 
Letters and Life, vii. 464. 

P. 213, 1. 14. as the Scripture saith] Matth. vi. 27 ; Luke xii. 25. 



THERE is a wisdom in this a beyond the rules of physic : 
a man's own observation what he finds good of and what 
he finds hurt of is the best physic to preserve health ; but 
it is a safer conclusion to say, This agreeth not well with me, 
therefore I will not continue it ; than this, I find no offence of 
this, therefore I may use it : for strength of nature b in 
youth passeth over many excesses which are owing a 
man till his age. Discern of the coming on of years, and 
think not to do the same things still ; for age will not 
be defied. Beware of sudden change in any great point 10 
of diet, and, if necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it ; for it 
is a secret both in nature and state , that it is safer to 

a in this] If we follow the Latin, ' in And, ' It is a trivial grammar-school 

this ' = in this matter, in this regimen text. Question was asked of De- 

of health. In regimine valetudinis, in- mosthenes,' &c. Essay 12. In both 

venire est quandam prudentiam ultra these cases, the it stands unex- 

regulas medicinae, the title of the Essay plained by anything before it, or by 

being thus incorporated with the text. any part of the clause in which it 

But it is not uncommon with Bacon to occurs. 

use a demonstrative pronoun, whose b strength of nature Sec."] The Latin 

corresponding noun comes in a subse- puts this more clearly etenim vigor 

quent clause. ' In this, 'therefore, may juventutis excessus plurimos tegit, qui 

be = 'in a man's own observation.' tamen in senectute tandem veluti debita 

Conf. ' It is but a light thing to be exigentur. 

vouched in so serious a matter. There c in nature and state] Lat. stcretum 

is a master of scoffing,' &c. Essay 3. naturale et politicum. 



change many things than one. Examine thy customs of 
diet, sleep, exercise, apparel, and the like ; and try, in 
anything thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by 
little and little ; but so as if thou dost find any incon 
venience by the change, thou come back to it again : for 
it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good 
and wholesome from that which is good particularly and 
fit for thine own body. To be free minded and cheerfully 
disposed at hours of meat and of sleep and of exercise is 

10 one of the best precepts of long lasting. As for the 
passions and studies of the mind, avoid envy, anxious 
fears, anger fretting inwards, subtile and knotty inquisitions, 
joys and exhilarations in excess, sadness not communi 
cated. Entertain hopes, mirth rather than joy, variety 
of delights rather than surfeit of them ; wonder and ad 
miration, and therefore novelties ; studies that fill the 
mind with splendid and illustrious objects ; as histories, 
fables, and contemplations of nature. If you fly physic 
in health altogether it will be too strange for your body 

20 when you shall need it ; if you make it too familiar it will 
work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. I 
commend rather some diet for certain seasons than fre 
quent use of physic, except it be grown into a custom ; 
for those diets alter the body more and trouble it less. 
Despise no new accident d in your body, but ask opinion 
of it.- In sickness, respect health principally; and in 
health, action : for those that put their bodies to endure 
in health may, in most sicknesses which are not very 
sharp, be cured only with diet and tendering 6 . Celsus 

d accident] Here used in the wide accident.' Eccles. Pol. v. chap. 9. sec. 

sense of anything which happens, any a. ' One may tell also the hour of his 

attendant fact. Conf. ' General laws nativity, when by accidents they know 

are like general rules of physic, accord- what hath happened to him all his life.' 

ing whereunto ... no wise man will Plutarch, Lives, p. 25. 
desire himself to be cured, if there be e with tendering] i. e. by treating with 

joined with his disease some special more than ordinary care. Lat. cor- 


could never have spoken it as a physician, had he not 
been a wise man withal, when he giveth it for one of the 
great precepts of health and lasting, that a man do vary 
and interchange contraries, but with an inclination to 
the more benign extreme : use fasting and full eating, 
but rather full eating ; watching and sleep, but rather 
sleep ; sitting and exercise, but rather exercise, and the 
like : so shall nature be cherished, and yet taught mas 
teries f . Physicians are some of them so pleasing and 
conformable to the humour of the patient as they press i 
not the true cure of the disease ; and some other are 
so regular in proceeding according to art for the disease 
as they respect not sufficiently the condition of the patient. 
Take one of a middle temper ; or, if it may not be found 
in one man, combine two of either sort; and forget not 
to call as well the best acquainted with your body as the 
best reputed of for his faculty s . 


P. 227, 1. 2. a man's own observation &c.] Conf. ' I remember upon 
a time I heard how Tiberius Caesar was wont to say, That a man, 
being once above threescore years of age, deserveth to be mocked 
and derided if he put forth his hand unto the Physician for to have 
his pulse felt. For mine own part, I take this speech of his to 
be somewhat too proud and insolent ; but methinks this should be 
true, That every man ought to know the particulars and properties of 
his own pulse . . . also that it behoveth no man to be ignorant in 
the several complexion of his own body as well in heat as in dryness : 
also to be skilful what- things be good for him, and what be hurtful 
when he useth them : for he that would learn these particularities of 
any other than himself . . . surely hath no sense or feeling of him- 

poris regimine paulo exquisitiore. quiret. Fr. et toutefois passera maitrise. 

Conf. Conf. ' Use maketh masteries, saith our 

' In the devotion of a subject's love English proverbe, and practice and 

Tendering the precious safety of my art do farre exceed nature.' Edmunds, 

prince.' Caesar's Comment., First Obs. on bk. i. 

Richard II, act i. sc. i. cap. 16. 

{ taught masteries] Lat. robur ac- % for his faculty] Lat. in arte sua. 


self, but is as it were deaf and blind ; a stranger he is, dwelling in, a 
borrowed body and none of his own.' Plutarch, Morals, p. 514. 

1. 12. safer to change &c.] So Machiavelli advises that ' a new Prince 
in a city or Province taken by him, should make innovations in every 
thing.' Discourses on Livy, bk. i. cap. 26. 

P. 228, 1. n. envy &c.] These are referred to at length in the His- 
toria Vitae et Mortis. Works, ii. pp. 171, 172. 

1. 12. subtile and knotty inquisitions &c.] For this and for the next 
sentence, conf. ' In philosophiis autem magna est discrepantia, quoad 
longaevitatem, inter sectas. Etenim philosophiae quae nonnihil 
habent ex superstitione et contemplationibus sublimioribus, optimae ; 
ut Pythagorica, Platonica : etiam quae mundi perambulationem, et 
rerum naturalium varietatem complectebantur, et cogitationes habe- 
bant discinctas et altas et magnanimas (de infinite, et de astris, et de 
virtutibus heroicis et hujusmodi) ad longaevitatem bonae ; quales 
fuerint Democriti, Philolai, Xenophanis, Astrologorum, et Stoicorum 
... At contra, philosophiae in subtilitatum molestiis versantes et 
pronuntiativae, et singula ad principiorum trutinam examinantes et 
torquentes, denique spinosiores et angustiores, malae ; quales fuerunt 
plerumque Peripateticorum et Scholasticorum.' Works, ii. 154. 

1. 26. in health, action.] Conf. ' Primo, nos in hac sententia sumus, 
ut existimemus officia vitae esse vita ipsa potiora,' &c. Works, 
ii. 159. 

1. 29. Celsus.] The rules, which Bacon ascribes here to Celsus, he 
gives also in his Historia Vitae et Mortis, to the same effect as in the 
Essay (Works, ii. 153). They convey a wholly incorrect notion of 
what Celsus says. There is a verbal resemblance between the two, 
but they strike, so to say, two very different notes. Celsus is writing 
for the man in sound health. He tells him, in effect, to fly physic, 
and not to be troubling himself about his state of body or whether 
this or that agrees with him. Only, he is to take plenty of exercise, 
and not to suffer himself to become the slave of any one uniform 
mode of life. Bacon, with the instinct of a valetudinarian, twists this 
licence into a law, and so fits it to form a part of his Essay on 
the Regimen of Health. Celsus' words are : ' Sanus homo, qui et 
bene valet, et suae spontis est, nullis obligare se legibus debet ; ac 
neque medico neque iatroalipta egere. Hunc oportet varium habere 
vitae genus : modo ruri esse, modo in urbe, saepiusque in agro : 
navigare, venari, quiescere interdum, sed frequenter se exercere. 
Siquidem ignavia corpus hebetat, labor firmat ; ilia maturam senec- 
tutem, hie longam adolescentiam reddit. Prodest autem interdum 
balneo, interdum aquis frigidis uti : modo ungi, modo id ipsum negli- 
gere : nullum cibi genus fugere quo populus utatur : interdum in 
convictu esse, interdum ab eo se retrahere : modo plus justo, 
modo non amplius assumere : bis die potius quam semel cibum 


capere ; et semper quam plurimum, dummodo hunc concoquat.' De 
Medicina, bk. i. cap. i. 

It would be difficult to misrepresent the drift of this passage more 
completely than Bacon has succeeded in doing. 



SUSPICIONS amongst thoughts are like bats amongst 
birds, they ever fly by twilight : certainly they are to be 
repressed, or at the least well guarded a ; for they cloud 
the mind, they lose friends, and they check with b business, 
whereby business .cannot go on currently and constantly : 
they dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jealousy, wise 
men to irresolution and melancholy : they are defects, not 
in the heart but in the brain ; for they take place in the 
stoutest natures, as in the example of Henry c the seventh of 
England ; there was not a more suspicious man nor a more 10 
stout: and in such a composition they do small hurt; for com 
monly they are not admitted but with examination whether 
they be likely or no? but in fearful natures they gain 
ground too fast. There is nothing makes a man suspect 
much, more than to know little ; and therefore men should 
remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not 
to keep their suspicions in smother d . What would men 

* well guarded] i. e. kept well under a statua or picture than to suffer his 

restraint. Lat. caute custodiendae. thoughts to pass in smother.' Essay 

b check with'] i. e. interfere with. 27 ; and ' I have often seen it, that 

Conf. ' If it check once with business, things when they are in smother trouble 

U troubleth men's fortunes.' Essay 10. more than when they break out.' Let- 

c example of Henry] Conf. Essay ters and Life, v. 47. The Latin is a 

19. p. 135. loose paraphrase, but it explains the 

d to keep their suspicions in smother] sense, fumo enim et tenebris aluntur 

i. e. to brood darkly over them. Conf. suspiciones, 
A man were better relate himself to 


have? Do they think those they employ and deal with 
are saints ? Do they not think they will have their own 
ends, and be truer to themselves than to them ? There 
fore there is no better way to moderate suspicions than 
to account upon such suspicions as true and yet to bridle 
them as false: for so far a man ought to make use of 
suspicions as to provide, as if that should be true that he 
suspects, yet it may do him no hurt. Suspicions that the 
mind of itself gathers are but buzzes ; but suspicions that 

10 are artificially nourished and put into men's heads by the 
tales and whisperings of others have stings. Certainly, 
the best mean 6 to clear the way in this same wood of 
suspicions is frankly to communicate them with the party 
that he suspects ; for thereby he shall be sure to know 
more of the truth of them than he did before ; and withal 
shall make that party more circumspect not to give further 
cause of suspicion. But this would not be done f to men 
of base natures ; for they, if they find themselves once 
suspected, will never be true. The Italian says, sospetto 

20 licentia fede ; as if suspicion did give a passport to faith 8 ; 
but it ought rather to kindle it to discharge itself h . 

6 the best mean} i. e. means. Conf. ' He which hath no stomach to this 

' It is the solecism of power to think to fight 

command the end, and yet not to Let him depart : his passport shall 

endure the mean.' Essay 19. be made.' 

1 would not be done] i. e. ought not Henry V, act iv. sc. 3. 

to be done. Conf. ' In counsels con- h to discharge itself] i. e. suspicion 

cerning religion that counsel of the ought rather to kindle faith to free 

apostle would be prefixed.' Essay 3, itself from the charge. The sense is 

and note on passage. that when a man of good faith knows 

e did give a passport to faith] i. e. did himself to be suspected, he ought to be 

give faith leave of departure, or, in thereby incited so to act as to prove 

other words, did give an excuse for the suspicion to be groundless. For 

bad faith. Suspicio fidem absolvit. An- 'discharge,' conf. 'The people (into 

titheta, Works, i. 705. Lat. quasi whom there is infused for the preser- 

suspicio fidei missionem daret. Conf. vation of monarchies a natural desire 

' An invasion of a few English upon to discharge their princes, though it be 

Spain may have just hope of victory, with the unjust charge of their coun- 

or at least of passport to depart sellers and ministers) did impute this 

safely.' Letters and Life, vii. 491. unto Cardinal Morton and Sir Richard 

And, Bray.' Works, vi. 240. 





SOME in their discourse desire rather commendation of 
wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment, 
in discerning what is true ; as if it were a praise to know 
what might be said, and not what should be thought 9 . 
Some have certain common-places and themes wherein 
they are good, and want variety ; which kind of poverty 
is for the most part tedious, and when it is once perceived 
ridiculous. The honourablest part of talk is to give the 
occasion ; and again to moderate b and pass to somewhat 
else ; for then a man leads the dance. It is good in 10 
discourse and speech of conversation, to vary and inter 
mingle speech of the present occasion with arguments, 
tales with reasons, asking of questions with telling of 
opinions, and jest with earnest; for it is a dull thing to 
tire, and as we say now to jade anything too far. As for 
jest, there be certain things which ought to be privileged 
from it ; namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, any 
man's present business of importance, and any case that 
deserveth pity ; yet there be some that think their wits have 
been asleep, except they dart out somewhat that is piquant, 20 
and to the quick ; that is a vein which would be bridled c ; 
Parce puer stimulis, et foriius utere Ion's. 

And generally, men ought to find the difference between 

a what should be thought] The Latin 
gives quid taceri debeat. But the words 
obviously correspond to the closing 
words of the clause just before. They 
mean therefore, what ought to be 
thought if the thought is to agree with 
the fact, i. e. 'what is true.' The 
French gives, ce qui se peut dire, non 
pas ce qui se devroit penser. 

b to moderate} i. e. to act the part of 
a moderator ; to sum up what has been 

said, and to pronounce judgment upon 
it. Vide Essay 25, note on ' modera 

c a vein which would be bridlcd~\ Lat. 
habitus omnino coercendus. ' Vein 1 = in 
clination or habit ; vid. infra, ' a satirical 
vein ' ; and ' Adrian's vein was better, 
for his mind was to wrastle a fall with 
time.' Letters and Life, vii. 359. 

would be] i. e. ought to be. So 


saltness and bitterness. Certainly, he that hath a satirical 
vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had 
need be afraid of others' memory. He that questioneth 
much shall learn much, and content much ; but especially 
if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom 
he asketh ; for he shall give them occasion to please 
themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually 
gather knowledge ; but let his questions not be trouble 
some, for that is fit for a poser d ; and let him be sure to 

10 leave other men their turns to speak : nay, if there be 
any that would reign and take up all the time, let him 
find means to take them off, and to bring others on, as 
musicians use to do with those that dance too long gal- 
liards. If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of 
that you are thought to know, you shall be thought 
another time to know that you know not. Speech of 
a man's self ought to be seldom, and well chosen. I knew 
one was wont to say in scorn, He must needs be a wise man, 
he speaks so much of himself: and there is but one case 

20 wherein a man may commend himself with good grace, 
and that is in commending virtue in another, especially 
if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth. 
Speech of touch e towards others should be sparingly 

d a poser] Lat. id examinatori con- that refers to his person or to his 

vettit. Conf. ' to the end that they may affairs, not necessarily offensively, 

be apposed of (i. e questioned about, The Italian translator seems to have 

Lat. ut interrogentur) ' those things observed this, and instead of Bacon's 

which of themselves they are desirous 'for discourse ought,' &c., he puts ac- 

to utter.' Essay 22. cordingly, e il discorso, &c., thus intro- 

Speech of touch] The Latin, French, ducing the clause as a new and in- 

and Italian versions interpret these dependent remark. In the edition of 

words in the same way. Sermo alias 1612, the story of the two noblemen, 

pungens et vellicans ; discours de repre- and the warning which it conveys 

hension; il pungere gli altri nel parlare. against flouts and scoffs, do not occur. 

But the caution against offensive per- This is a further argument for inter- 

sonal remarks has already been given. preting ' speech of touch' by the reason 

The clause which immediately follows which immediately follows, and with 

suggests a wider sense here, viz. speech no reference to matters which have 

that comes home to a man in any way ; been put in by an after-thought. 


used ; for discourse f ought to be as a field, without coming 
home to any man. I knew two noblemen of the west 
part of England, whereof the one was given to scoff, but 
kept ever royal cheer in his house ; the other would ask 
of those that had been at the other's table, Tell truly, 
was there never a flout or dry 8 blow given ? To which the 
guest would answer, Such and such a thing passed. The 
lord would say / thought he would mar a good dinner. 
Discretion of speech is more than eloquence ; and to 
speak agreeably h to him with whom we deal is more than 10 
to speak in good words, or in good order. A good con 
tinued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, 
shows slowness ; and a good reply or second speech, 
without a good settled speech, showeth shallowness and 
weakness. As we see in beasts, that those that are 
weakest in the course are yet nimblest in the turn ; as it is 
betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To use too many 
circumstances * ere one come to the matter is wearisome ; 
to use none at all is blunt. 


Parts of this Essay are found in ' Short Notes for Civil Conversa 
tion,' a Treatise of uncertain date. Works, vii. 109, and preface. 

P. 233, 1. 6. want variety} Conf. Plutarch on Education of children : 
' To be able to speak of one thing and no more, is first and foremost 
in my conceit no small signe of ignorance. Then, I suppose that the 

f for discourse &c.] The Latin gives mean parentage from whence he (the 

this more fully and clearly : Etenim son of Lagus) was descended.' Plu- 

scrmones familiares debent esse instar tarch, Morals, p. 103. 

campi aperti, in quo spatiari licet ; non ' For hard dry bastings us'd to prove 

v iae regiae quae deducit domutn. The readiest remedies of love.' 

dry] i. e. severe ; scornful. Conf. Hudibras, Pt. II. Canto i. 645. 

' King Ptolomaeus upon a time gesting & agreeably] i. e. agree-ably. Lat. 

and scoffing at a simple and unlearned apte loqui et accommodate ad personam. 

grammarian, asked him who was the ' circumstances] i. e. introductory 

father of Peleus ; I will answer you, speech. Conf. ' I came hither to tell 

sir (quoth he) if you tell me first who you ; and, circumstances shortened, 

was the father of Lagus. This was a (for she hath been too long a talking of) 

dry flout, and touched King Ptolo- the lady is disloyal.' Much Ado About 

maeus very near, in regard of the Nothing, act iii. sc. a. 


exercise and practice thereof soon bringeth satiety. And againe, 
I hold it impossible evermore to continue in the same : For so to be 
ever in one song breedeth tediousnesse, and soon a man is weary of 
it ; whereas variety is alwaies delectable both in this and also in all 
other objects as well of the eye as the eare.' Plut. Morals (ed. 1657), 
p. 7. 

1. 21. a vein that would be bridled} Conf. ' Sed quomodo in omni 
vita rectissime praecipitur ut perturbationes fugiamus, id est motus 
animi nimios rationi non obtemperantes : sic ejusmodi motibus 
sermo debet vacare, ne aut ira existat aut cupiditas aliqua aut 
pigritia aut ignavia aut tale aliquid appareat : maximeque curandum 
est, ut eos quibuscum sermones conferemus, et vereri et diligere 
videamur.' Cicero, De Off. i. 38. And, ' In convictibus et quotidiano 
sermone . . . laedere nunquam velimus, longeque absit propositum 
illud Potius amicum quam dictum perdidi (v. 1. perdendi)' Quintilian, 
Instit. Orat. vi. 3. 28. This was a favourite caution with Sir Nicholas 
Bacon. He had a very quaint saying, and he used it often to good 
purpose, 'that he loved the jest well, but not the losse of his friend.' 
' He would say ... I will never forgive that man that loseth himself 
to be rid of his jest.' Sir R. Naunton, Fragmenta Regalia. 

1. 22. Farce puer &c.j Ovid, Metam. ii. 127. 

P. 234, 1. 9. let him be sure to leave other men their turns &c.] In this, 
as elsewhere in the Essay, Bacon seems to have had in his mind some 
passages in Cicero, De Officiis, i. 37 and 38 : ' Sit igitur hie sermo, in 
quo Socratici maxime excellunt, lenis, minimeque pertinax : insit 
in eo lepos, nee vero, tanquam in possessionem suam venerit, ex- 
cludat alios, sed cum reliquis in rebus, turn in sermone communi, 
vicissitudinem non iniquam putet . . . Animadvertendum est etiam, 
quatenus sermo delectationem habeat, et ut incipiendi ratio fuerit, 
ita sit desinendi modus.' 

Dr. Rawley notes Bacon's observance of his own rules : ' He was 
no dashing man (i. e. not one who used his wit to put his neighbours 
out of countenance) as some men are, but ever a countenancer and 
fosterer of another man's parts. Neither was he one that would 
appropriate the speech wholly to himself, or delight to outvie others, 
but leave a liberty to the co-assessors to take their turns. Wherein 
he would draw a man on and allure him to speak upon such a 
subject, as wherein he was peculiarly skilful and would delight to 
speak.' Works, i. p. 12 and note. 

1. 14. If you dissemble &c.] So Bacon, elsewhere, giving instruction 
how to cover defects, says, inter alia, ' A man must frame some 
probable cause why he should not do his best and why he should 
dissemble his abilities : and for that purpose must use to dissemble 
those abilities which are notorious in him, to give colour that his 
true wants are but industries and dissimulations.' Works, iii. 464. 


This trick he ascribes to Socrates, strangely mistaking the purpose 
and drift of the Socratic irony. ' In Socrates it (i. e. a profession of 
general ignorance and uncertainty) was supposed to be but a form of 
irony. Scientiam dissimulando simulavit ; for he used to disable his 
knowledge to the end to enhance his knowledge.' Works, iii. 388. 

1. 1 6. Speech of 'a man 's self &c.] ' Deform e etiam est, de se ipso 
praedicare, falsa praesertim, et cum irrisione audientium, imitari 
militem gloriosum.' De Off. i. 38. 

1. 21. commending virtue in another] Conf. Essay 54, sub finem. 

P. 235, 1.15. As we see in beasts] Conf. ' Though the difference be good 
which was made between orators and sophisters, that the one is as 
the greyhound which hath his advantage in the race, and the other 
as the hare which hath her advantage in the turn, so as it is the 
advantage of the weaker creature.' Works, iii. 394. 



PLANTATIONS are amongst ancient, primitive, and heroical 
works. When the world was young, it begat more 
children ; but now it is old, it begets fewer : for I may 
justly account new plantations to be the children of former 
kingdoms. I like a plantation in a pure soil ; that is, 
where people are not displanted, to the end to plant in 
others; for else it is rather an extirpation than a plan 
tation. Planting of countries is like planting of woods ; 
for you must make account to lose almost twenty years' 
profit, and expect your recompense in the end : for the 10 
principal thing that hath been the destruction of most 
plantations hath been the base and hasty drawing of profit 
in the first years. It is true, speedy profit is not to be 
neglected as far as may stand with the good of the 
plantation, but no further. It is a shameful and unblessed 
thing to take the scum of people and wicked condemned 
men to be the people with whom you plant ; and not only 


so, but it spoileth the plantation ; for they will ever live 
like rogues, and not fall to work, but be lazy, and do 
mischief, and spend victuals, and be quickly weary, and 
then certify over to their country to the discredit of 
the plantation. The people wherewith you plant ought 
to be gardeners, ploughmen, labourers, smiths, carpenters, 
joiners, fishermen, fowlers, with some few apothecaries, 
surgeons, cooks, and bakers. In a country of plantation, 
first look about what kind of victual the country yields 

io of itself to hand : as chestnuts, walnuts, pine-apples, olives, 
dates, plums, cherries, wild honey, and the like ; and make 
use of them. Then consider what victual or esculent 
things there are which grow speedily and within the year ; 
as parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, radish, artichokes of 
Hierusalem, maize, and the like : for wheat, barley, and 
oats, they ask too much labour ; but with pease and beans 
you may begin, both because they ask less labour, and 
because they serve for meat as well as for bread ; and of 
rice likewise cometh a great increase, and it is a kind 

20 of meat. Above all, there ought to be brought store 
of biscuit, oatmeal, flour, meal, and the like in the be 
ginning till bread may be had. For beasts or birds 
take chiefly such as are least subject to diseases and 
multiply fastest ; as swine, goats, cocks, hens, turkeys, 
geese, house-doves, and the like. The victual in planta 
tions ought to be expended almost as in a besieged town ; 
that is, with certain allowance : and let the main part of 
the ground employed to gardens or corn, be to a common 
stock ; and to be laid in and stored up and then delivered 

3 out in proportion ; besides some spots of ground that any 
particular person will manure* for his own private b . 

manure] i. e. cultivate. Lat. in onely cause that the country of Attica 

quibus industria singulorum se exerceat. became more fruitfull, being better 

Conf. ' Theophrastus saith also, it was manured.' Plut. Lives, p. 99. 
Pysistratus and not Solon, that made b his own private] For this sub- 

the law for idlenesse, which was the stantival use of the word, conf. ' Nor 


Consider likewise what commodities the soil where the 
plantation is doth naturally yield, that they may some 
way help to defray the charge of the plantation : so it be 
not, as was said, to the untimely prejudice of the main 
business, as it hath fared with tobacco in Virginia. Wood 
commonly aboundeth but too much ; and therefore timber 
is fit to be one. If there be iron ore, and streams where 
upon to set the mills, iron is a brave commodity c where 
wood aboundeth. Making of bay-salt, if the climate be 
proper for it, would be put in experience d : growing 10 
silk e likewise, if any be, is a likely commodity : pitch 
and tar, where store of firs and pines are, will not fail ; so 
drugs and sweet woods, where they are, cannot but yield 
great profit: soap-ashes likewise, and other things that 
may be thought of; but moil not too much under ground, 
for the hope of mines is very uncertain, and useth to make 
the planters lazy in other things. For government, let 
it be in the hands of one, assisted with some council ; and 
let them have commission to exercise martial laws, with 
some limitation ; and above all, let men make that profit 20 
of being in the wilderness, as they have God always and 
his service before their eyes : let not the government 
of the plantation depend upon too many counsellors and 
undertakers in the country that planteth, but upon a 
temperate number; and let those be rather noblemen 
and gentlemen than merchants ; for they look ever to the 
present gain. Let there be freedoms from custom till 
the plantation be of strength ; and not only freedom from 
custom, but freedom to carry their commodities where 
they may make their best of them, except there be some 30 
special cause of caution. Cram not in people by sending 

must I be unmindful of my private.' ought to be tried. Lat. digna res est 

Ben Jonson, Catiline, act iii. sc. 5. quae tentetur. 

c is a brave commodity} Lat. e merci- e growing silk} i. e, vegetable silk. 

bus quaestuosis est. Lat. sericum vegetabile; vide note at end 

d would be put in experience] i. e. of Essay. 


too fast company after company; but rather hearken f 
how they waste, and send supplies proportionably ; but 
so as the number may live well in the plantation, and not 
by surcharge be in penury. It hath been a great endan 
gering to the health of some plantations that they have 
built along the sea and rivers, in marish g and unwholesome 
grounds: therefore, though you begin there, to avoid 
carriage and other like discommodities, yet build still 
rather upwards from the streams than along. It con- 

10 cerneth likewise the health of the plantation that they 
have good store of salt with them, that they may use it 
in their victuals when it shall be necessary. If you plant 
where savages are, do not only entertain them with trifles 
and gingles, but use them justly and graciously, with 
sufficient guard nevertheless ; and do not win their favour 
by helping them to invade their enemies, but for their 
defence it is not amiss ; and send oft of them over to the 
country that plants, that they may see a better condition 
than their own, and commend it when they return. When 

20 the plantation grows to strength, then it is time to plant 
with women as well as with men ; that the plantation may 
spread into generations, and not be ever pieced from with 
out. It is the sinfullest thing in the world to forsake or 
destitute b a plantation once in forwardness ; for, besides 
the dishonour, it is the guiltiness of blood of many corn- 
miserable persons. 

f hearken} i.e. watch. Lat. infor- sea-side.' Raleigh, Hist, of World, bk. 

mationi diligenti intende. Conf. ii. chap. 27. sec. 2. ' Amyrtaeus who 

' They did me too much injury held * e marish and w ody P*rts of 

That ever said I hearken'd for your E SYP^ Bk. iii. chap. 7. sec. 6. 

death.' h ' **"*"*] ' e - to leave destitute. 

Henry IV, part i. act 5. sc. 4. ^ ***** C nf - ' He was willin 

to part with his place, upon hope not 

% marish] i. e. marshy. Lat. in locis to be destituted, but to be preferred to 

paludinosis. Conf. ' They banished one of the Baron's places in Ireland.' 

him into the marish countries by the Letters and Life, vi. 207. 



P. 237, 1. i. Plantations] i.e. colonies, as the context shows through 
out. Lat. coloniae. In Elizabeth's reign the era of English coloniza 
tion began. With the discovery of the Western Hemisphere, a vast 
unoccupied field was thrown open for settlement ; and, with this 
scope allowed, it became evident that the world, now that it was old, 
could beget children no less abundantly than in its youth. The first 
attempts were unsuccessful. In 1578, Sir Humfrey Gilbert went out 
with a party of intending settlers, under letters patent from the queen, 
but he made no stay. Then a fresh start was made chiefly at Sir 
Walter Raleigh's charges, but with no permanent result. Settlements 
were effected, first at Roanoak, off the coast of Virginia, then on the 
main-land. Some of the colonists came home discouraged and dis 
appointed : some were killed by the natives whom they had ill-treated 
and outraged ; the rest were lost and never heard of again. Hakluyt, 
iii. 301 et seqq., tells the whole miserable story, from the first hopeful 
settlement in 1585, down to the final ineffective search in 1590 for the 
remnants of the last colony, planted in 1587. Captain John White, 
who was in command of the mismanaged search-party, and who 
came back after committing the relief of the colonists ' to the merciful 
help of the Almighty and so leaving them,' writes (in 1622), ' and thus 
we left seeking our colony, that was never any of them found nor 
seen to this day, and this was the conclusion of this plantation.' 
Pinkerton, Voyages, vol. xiii. p. 19. 

In the next century the attempt was renewed with better success ; 
and, by the date of Bacon's Essay, colonies had been planted and had 
taken root both in Virginia and in New England. 

1. 2. When the world wasyoung\ This may have been suggested by 
a passage in Lucretius : 

( maternum nomen adepta 

Terra tenet merito, quoniam genus ipsa creavit 
Humanum, atque animal prope certo tempore fudit 
Omne ..... 

Sed quia finem aliquam pariendi debet habere 
Destitit, ut mulier spatio defessa vetusto.' 

Bk. v. 818 et seqq. 

1. 5. in a pure so//.] This was insisted on in Elizabeth's Letters 
Patent to Raleigh : ' We do give and grant to Walter Ralegh Esquire 
and to his heirs and assigns for ever, free liberty to search, find out, 
and view such remote heathen and barbarous lands, not actually 
possessed of any Christian Prince nor inhabited by Christian people, 
as to him &c. shall seem good : and the same to have hold occupy and 
enjoy, &c. (March 25, 1584).' Hakluyt, iii. 298. 



We find the same exception in the earlier Letters Patent to Sir 
Humfrey Gilbert (1578) ; iii. p. 174. 

That this exception was enough to satisfy Bacon's rule about 
planting in a pure soil appears, partly from the words at the end of 
the Essay, where he speaks of the proper treatment of savages ; 
partly from the ' Advice to Villiers,' where the place chosen for a 
plantation is directed to be ' such as hath not been already planted by 
the subjects of any other Christian prince or state.' ' The colonists,' 
he presently adds, 'must make themselves defensible both against 
the natives and against strangers.' Letters and Life, vi. 50, 51. 

1. 12. base and hasty drawing of profit} This does not appear in the 
histories of the early plantations. The constant complaint is that, 
although large sums had been spent in fitting them out and providing 
for them, there was no return of profit from them. Their destruction 
was partly due to their improvidence in the use of their stores, but 
chiefly to their reckless behaviour towards the natives at once 
unjust and ungracious and wanting in sufficient guard. There was 
the wish in some quarters to make a profit from the plantations 
hastily, if not basely. Captain Carlile, in his most interesting dis 
course upon the intended voyage to America, written in 1583, 
addresses himself especially to satisfy such merchants, ' as in dis 
bursing their money towards the furniture of the present charge, doe 
demand forthwith a present returne of gaine ' (Hakluyt, iii. 228), but 
I find no record of any return of gain, early or late. 

1. 15. shameful and unblessed thing] This was frequently done, some 
times at the request of the English adventurers, in order to cheapen 
labour in the colonies, sometimes because the colonies were a con 
venient outlet for the criminals and ne'er-do-wells of the mother 
country. Conf. ' Since I came from thence (i. e. from Virginia) the 
honourable company hath been humble suitors to His Majesty to get 
vagabonds and condemned men to go thither ; nay, so the business 
hath been so abused that so scorned was the name of Virginia, some 
did chuse to be hanged ere they would go thither, and were.' Pin- 
kerton's Voyages, xiii. 240. And, ' That there be some prudent course 
taken to maintain a garrison to suppress the savages . . . for this cannot 
be done by promises, hopes, counsels and countenances, but with suffi 
cient workmen and means to maintain them, nor such delinquents as 
here cannot be ruled by all the laws in England : yet when the founda 
tion is laid and a commonwealth established then such may better be 
constrained to labour than here : but to rectify a commonwealth with 
debauched persons is impossible, and no wise man would throw him 
self into such a society that intends honestly and knows what he 
undertakes.' p. 169. 

We find like complaints in the course of the settlement of the 
Bermudas. Of the three first settlers, two were criminals ' that for 


their offences or the suspicion they had of their judgment, fled into 
the woods, and there rather desired to end their days than stand to 
their trials and the event of justice.' Ten years later, in 1620, when the 
plantation had been regularly established, ' the company sent a supply 
of ten persons for the generality, but of such bad condition that it 
seemed they had picked the males out of Newgate, the females from 
Bridewell.' General history of the Bermudas, Pinkerton, Voyages 
and Travels, vol. xiii. pp. 177, 198 (ed. 1812). 

One of the ship's companies, which went with Sir Humfrey Gilbert 
in his intended settlement of Newfoundland in 1583, is thus described : 
' The captain, albeit himselfe was very honest and religious, yet was 
he not appointed of men to his humor and desert : who for the most 
part were such as had bene by us surprised upon the narrow seas of 
England, being pirats, and had taken at that instant certaine French 
men laden, one barke with wines and another with salt. Both which 
we rescued.' Hakluyt, iii. 191. 

P. 238, 1. 25. house-doves, and the like] After these words the Latin 
has, Praecipue autem piscationibus incumbendum, turn ad sustentationem 
coloniae, turn ad lucrum exportationis. 

1. 27. and let the main part of the ground] Conf. ' At New Plymouth 
.... the most of them live together as one family or household, yet 
every man followeth his trade and profession both by sea and land, 
and all for a general stock, out of which they have all their main 
tenance until there be a dividend betwixt the planters and the 
adventurers. Those planters are not servants to the adventurers 
here, but have only councils of directions from them, but no injunctions 
or command, and all the masters of families are partners in land or 
whatsoever, setting their labours against the stock, till certain years 
be expired for the division . . . The adventurers which raised the 
stock to begin and supply this plantation were about seventy, some 
gentlemen, some merchants, some handicraftsmen . . . These 
dwell mostly about London : they are not a corporation, but knit 
together by a voluntary combination in a society without constraint or 
penalty, aiming to do good and to plant religion.' Smith's New 
England, Pinkerton's Voyages, xiii. 252. 

P. 239, 1. 5. as it hath fared with tobacco in Virginia'] If we follow the 
punctuation of the English text of 1625 (putting a colon after ' charge of 
the plantation : ') this must mean that the cultivation of tobacco in Vir 
ginia has been 'to the untimely prejudice of the main business.' The 
Latin, in which the order of the clauses is not the same as in the English, 
suggests a different sense, viz. that the cultivation of tobacco has in 
someway helped to defray the charge of the plantation : Ut exportatio 
eorum in loca ubi maxime in pretio sunt sumptus level j ut usuvenit in 
nicotiano apud Virginiam : modo non sit, ut jam dictum, in praejudicium 
intempesiivum coloniae ipsius. Mr. Spedding interprets it in this way, 

R 2 


and encloses in brackets (' so as it be not, as was said, to the untimely 
prejudice of the main business '). But even so, the words ' as was 
said,' inexactly rendered by ut jam dictum, seem to endorse a charge 
that the attention given to the cultivation of tobacco in Virginia had 
been to the prejudice of the main business of the colony. 

It is certain that tobacco was grown in Virginia very soon and very 
largely : that it was found to be the most profitable crop : and that 
complaints were made about the almost exclusive attention paid to it. 

' The great produce of this country is tobacco, and that of Virginia 
is looked upon as the best in the world . . . Yet tobacco is very far from 
being the only thing of value which this country produces : on the 
contrary, they have flax, hemp, and cotton ; and silk they might have 
if they were not so extremely addicted to their staple commodity as 
never to think of anything else if tobacco can be brought to a tolerable 
market.' Discoveries and Settlements of the English in America, 
Pinkerton, Voyages, vol. xii. p. 242. 

* The trade of this colony (Virginia) as well as that of Maryland, con 
sists almost entirely of tobacco ; for though the country would produce 
several excellent commodities fit for trade, yet the planters are so 
wholly bent on planting tobacco, that they seem to have laid aside all 
thoughts of other improvements. This trade is brought to such per 
fection that the Virginia tobacco, especially the sweet-scented which 
grows on York-river, is reckoned the best in the world, and is what 
is generally vended in England for a home consumption.' p. 245. 

'We find' (says John Rolfe, one of the settlers), 'by them of best 
experience, an industrious man not other ways employed, may well 
tend four acres of corn, and one thousand plants of tobacco ; and 
where they say an acre will yield but three or four barrels we have 
ordinarily four or five, but of new ground six, seven and eight .... 
so that one man may provide corn for five and apparel for two by the 
profit of his tobacco.' Pinkerton, Voyages and Travels, xiii. p. 126. 

That this was thought mischievous appears from the evidence 
given by John Smith, one of the early governors of the colony, to His 
Majesty's Commissioners for the reformation of Virginia. 'What 
conceive you,' he is asked, ' should be the cause, though the country 
be good, there comes nothing but tobacco ?' 

His answer is, 'The oft altering of governors, it seems, causes 
every man to make use of his time : and because corn was stinted at 
two shillings and six-pence the bushel, and tobacco at three shillings 
the pound, and they value a man's labour a year worth fifty or three 
score pounds, but in corn not worth ten pounds, presuming tobacco 
will furnish them with all things ; now make a man's labour in corn 
worth three score pounds, and in tobacco but ten pounds a man, then 
shall they have corn sufficient to entertain all comers and keep their 
people in health to do anything : but till then there will be little 


or nbthing to any purpose.' Pinkerton, Voyages and Travels, vol. xiii. 
p. 167. 

It does not appear that this impossible remedy for an imaginary 
evil was ever tried. 

1. 8. iron is a brave commodity] This and much else of the Essay 
seem to have been suggested by passages in a brief and true report 
of the 'new found land of Virginia' by Thomas Heriot (1587). Conf. 
' In two places specially the ground was found to hold iron richly. 
It is found in many places of the country else : I know nothing to the 
contrary but that it may be allowed for a good merchantable com 
modity, considering there the small charge for the labour and feeding 
of men, the infinite store of wood,' &c. Hakluyt, iii. 327. 

1. 10. growing silk} Conf. ' Silke of grasse or Grasse silke. There 
is a kind of grasse in the country, upon the blades whereof there 
groweth very good silke in form of a thin glittering skin to be stript 
off. It groweth two foot and a halfe high or better : the blades are 
about two foot in length and half an inch broad. The like groweth in 
Persia which is in the self same climate as Virginia, of which very 
many of the Silke works that come thence into Europe are made. 
There is great store thereof in many parts of the countrey growing 
naturally and wild, which also by proof here in England, in making a 
piece of Silke or grogran, we found to be excellent good.' Hakluyt, 
vol. iii. p. 324. 

1. 16. the hope of mines &c.] This seems to refer especially to gold 
mines, in quest of which some of the early colonists spent much labour 
with no result, and to the neglect of necessary work. Bacon has just 
before spoken approvingly of iron as a brave commodity. Conf. ' The 
worst was our gilded refiners with their golden promises made all 
men their slaves in hope of recompenses : there was no talk, no hope, 
no work, but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold, such a bruit of 
gold that one mad fellow desired to be buried in the sands lest they 
should by their art make gold of his bones. . . . Never anything did 
more torment him (Captain Smith) than to see all necessary business 
neglected, to fraught such a drunken ship with so much gilded dirt.' 
Quoted in Smith's Virginia, Pinkerton's Voyages, xiii. p. 58. 

It seems questionable whether the metal found was gold after all. 
It is presently spoken of as ' phantastical gold,' and the only further 
notice of it is that the search for it caused the settlers ' to lose time, 
spend that victuals we had, tire and starve our men.' 

1. 17. For government &c.] The neglect of this and of the rules given 
below proved very mischievous. In reply to a question from the 
Commissioners for the Reformation of Virginia, ' What think you of 
the defects of government both here and there?' ex-governor Smith 
says, ' The multiplicity of opinions here, and officers there, makes 
such delay by question and formality that as much time is spent in 


compliment as in action.' 'Those new devices,' he adds, 'have 
consumed both money and purse, for at first there were but six 
patentees, now more than a thousand ; then but thirteen counsellors, 
now not less than an hundred.' Pinkerton's Voyages, xiii. pp. 167, 168. 

1. 27. freedoms from custom] Ex-governor Smith, in his evidence 
before the Commissioners for the Reformation of Virginia, insists on 
the need of this. ' That His Majesty would be pleased to remit his 
custom, or it is to be feared they will lose custom and all.' Pinkerton's 
Voyages, xiii. 169. And, ' I think if His Maiesty were truly informed 
of their necessity and the benefit of this project, he would be pleased 
to give the custom of Virginia ... to maintain this garrison. . . . 
Otherwise it is much to be doubted there will neither come custom 
nor any thing from thence to England within these few years.' 
xiii. p. 153. 

1. 29. freedom to carry their commodities &c.] The enjoyment of a 
trading monopoly was commonly one of the inducements held out to 
the companies or private adventurers by whom the first charges of 
the colony were advanced. It is granted in full terms in Sir Walter 
Raleigh's letters patent. Hakluyt, iii. 299. In a ' Discourse upon 
the intended voyage to America, written by Captain Carlile in 1583,' 
merchandising is said to be the matter especially looked for by the 
adventurers, and Carlile engages accordingly that all trade to and 
from the colony shall appertain only to them. Hakluyt, iii. 230, 235. 
But, in point of fact, the freedom on which Bacon insists appears to 
have been generally allowed. We find its denial treated as a grievous 
wrong. When the English company of adventurers laid the colonists 
at the Bermudas under an ' express command that they should en 
tertain no other ships, than were directly sent from the company ; 
this caused much grudging and indeed a general distraction and 
exclamation among the inhabitants, to be thus constrained to buy 
what they wanted and sell what they had at what price the magazine 
pleased.' General history of the Bermudas, Pinkerton, Voyages and 
Travels, vol. xiii. p. 198. 

The Navigation Act of 1650 was the first regular blow dealt at 
Colonial freedom of trading. 



I CANNOT call riches better than the baggage of virtue ; 
the Roman word is better, impedimenta; for as the 
baggage is to an army, so is riches to virtue ; it cannot be 


spared nor left behind, but it hindereth the march ; yea and 
the care of it sometimes loseth on disturbeth the victory. 
Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the 
distribution ; the rest is but conceit a ; so saith Salomon, 
Where much is, there are many to consume it; and what hath 
the owner but the sight of it with his eyes ? The personal 
fruition in any man cannot reach to feel great riches : 
there is a custody of them ; or a power of dole and do 
native of them ; or a fame of them ; but no solid use to the 
owner. Do you not see what feigned prices are set upon 10 
little stones and rarities ? and what works of ostentation 
are undertaken, because b there might seem to be some 
use of great riches ? But then you will say they may 
be of use to buy men out of dangers or troubles ; as 
Salomon saith, Riches are as a stronghold in the imagination 
of the rich man; but this is excellently expressed, that it is 
in imagination and not always in fact : for certainly great 
riches have sold more men than they have bought out. 
Seek not proud riches c , but such as thou mayest get 
justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave con- 20 
tentedly; yet have no abstract nor friarly d contempt of 
them ; but distinguish, as Cicero saith well of Rabirius 
Posthumus, In studio rei amplificandae, apparebat non ava- 
ritiae praedam, sed instrumentum bonitati quaeri. Hearken 
also to Salomon, and beware of hasty gathering of riches : 
Qui festinat ad divitias non erit insons. The poets feign 
that when Plutus (which is riches) is sent from Jupiter, 
he limps and goes slowly; but when he is sent from Pluto, 

but conceit] i. e. imagination. Lat. b because] i. e. in order that. Lat. ut. 

caetera in imaginatione -versantur. Conf. Essay 8, ' there are some foolish 

Conf. Pliny, N. H. book ii. cap. 65 rich covetous men, that take a pride in 

(Holland's version), ' But surely, in having no children, because they may 

my conceit, this was but an uncerteine be thought so much the richer.' Lat. 

guess of his.' In the quotation below, ut habeantur tanto ditiores. 

from Proverbs xviii. 1 1 , where Bacon c proud riches] Lat. divitias magnas. 

writes ' imagination,' the authorized d abstract nor friarly] Lat. instar 

version gives ' conceit.' monachi alicujusaut a scculo abstracti. 


he runs and is swift of foot ; meaning that riches gotten 
by good means and just labour pace slowly ; but when 
they come by the death of others (as by the course of 
inheritance, testaments, and the like), they come tumbling 
upon a man : but it might be applied likewise to Pluto, 
taking him for the devil : for when riches come from 
the devil (as by fraud and oppression and unjust means) 
they come upon speed. The ways to enrich are many, 
and most of them foul : parsimony is one of the best, 

10 and yet is not innocent ; for it withholdeth men from 
works of liberality and charity. The improvement of the 
ground is the most natural obtaining of riches ; for it 
is our great mother's blessing, the earth's ; but it is slow ; 
and yet, where men of great wealth do stoop to hus 
bandry 6 , it multiplieth riches exceedingly. I knew a 
nobleman in England that had the greatest audits of 
any man in my time ; a great grazier, a great sheep-master, 
a great timber-man, a great collier, a great corn-master, 
a great lead-man, and so of iron, and a number of the like 

20 points of husbandry ; so as the earth seemed a sea to 
him in respect of the perpetual importation. It was truly 
observed by one, that himself came very hardly to a little 
riches, and very easily to great riches ; for when a man's 
stock is come to that that he can expect f the prime of 
markets, and overcome g those bargains, which for their 
greatness are few men's money, and be partner in the 
industries of younger men, he cannot but increase mainly. 
The gains of ordinary trades and vocations are honest, and 
furthered by two things chiefly : by diligence, and by 

e husbandry] Lat. agri culturam et party's suit by way of appeal.' Works 

lucra rustica. The points of 'husbandry' vi. 87. Also, 'It is not for nothing that 

enumerated just below show how wide I have deferred my essay De Amicitia, 

a meaning Bacon gives to the word. whereby it hath expected the proof of 

f expect] i. e. wait for. Conf. ' Where^ your great friendship towards me.' 

as by the common law the King's Letters and Life, vii. 344. 

suit, in case of homicide, did expect 8 overcome'] i. e. become master of, 

the year and the day allowed to the be able to deal in. Lat. superare. 



a good name for good and fair dealing ; but the gains of 
bargains are of a more doubtful nature, when men shall 
wait upon others' necessity : broke h by servants and 
instruments to draw them on ; put off others cunningly 
that would be better chapmen, and the like practices 1 , 
which are crafty and naught k . As for the chopping of 
bargains, when a man buys not to hold but to sell over 
again, that commonly grindeth double, both upon the 
seller and upon the buyer. Sharings l do greatly enrich, 
if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the 10 
certainest means of gain, though one of the worst ; as 
that whereby a man doth eat his bread, in sudore vultus 
alieni ; and besides, doth plough upon Sundays : but 
yet certain though it be, it hath flaws ; for that the scri 
veners and brokers do value 11 unsound men to serve 
their own turn. The fortune in being the first in an 
invention or in a privilege doth cause sometimes a won 
derful overgrowth in riches, as it was with the first sugar- 

h broke} i. e. negociate. The Latin 
gives the sense of the passage more 
clearly, ci4m quis . . . servos et minis- 
tros alienos in damnum dominorum 
corrumpat, but, perhaps, too narrowly, 
since it implies that the bargainer uses 
as his go-betweens the servants of other 
people and not his own. 

1 practices] Lat. fraudes, the usual 
sense of the word with Bacon. 

k naught] i. e. rascally. Lat. quae 
omnes merito damnandae sunt. Conf. 
' I say these are engines and devices 
naught, malign, and seditious.' Letters 
and Life, v. 47. 

1 Sharings} Lat. societates. 

m scriveners and brokers] i. e. inter 
mediaries between the lender and the 
borrower. Conf. 21 James I, cap. 17, 
which enacts ' that scriveners brokers 
solicitors and drivers of bargains who 
shall take or receive more than at the 
rate of five shillings for brokage solicit 
ing driving or procuring a loan of one 
hundred pounds for a year shall be 

liable to be fined and imprisoned.' 

n do value] i. e. do put a high value 
on or recommend. Lat. extollent. They 
' serve their own turn ' of course by 
knavishly helping forward a loan which 
will bring them their commission when 
it is concluded, whether the borrower 
prove sound or unsound. Conf. 
' Broker (brocarius) seemeth to come 
from the French (broieur. i. tritor) that 
is, a gryneder or breaker into small 
peeces. Because he that is of that 
trade, to deall in maters of mony and 
marchandise betweene Englishe men 
and strangers, doth draw the bargaine 
to particulars, and the parties to con 
clusion, not forgetting to grinde out 
something to his owne profit ... It 
may not improbably be said that this 
word commeth from (bracarder. i. cavil- 
lari) because these kinde of men by 
their deceitfull speeches and abusing 
their true trade, many times invegle 
others.' Cowell, Interpreter, sub voce. 


man in the Canaries : therefore, if a man can play the true 
logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may 
do great matters, especially if the times be fit: he that 
resteth upon gains certain, shall hardly grow to great 
riches ; and he that puts all upon adventures, doth often 
times break and come to poverty : it is good therefore to 
guard adventures with certainties that may uphold losses . 
Monopolies and coemption of wares for resale, where 
they are not restrained p , are great means to enrich ; es- 

10 pecially if the party have intelligence what things are 
like to come into request, and so store himself beforehand. 
Riches gotten by service q , though it be of the best rise, 

> yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humours, 
and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst 
the worst. As for fishing for testaments and executor- 
ships (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, Testamenta et orbos tan- 
quam indagine capt), it is yet worse, by how much r men 
submit themselves to meaner persons than in service. 
Believe not much them that seem to despise riches, for 

uphold losses'] i. e. make up for. words seems to be : Though riches 
Lat. ut damnis subveniatur. gotten by service be of the best rise, 

P not restrained} Lat. ubi nulla lege yet when riches are gotten by flattery, 

prohibentur. On the laws forbidding &c. they may be placed amongst the 

the ' coemption of wares for resale ' worst in origin or amongst the worst 

vide note on engrossing, Essay 15. gotten forms of riches. The Latin is, 

1 Riches gotten by service &c.] This Opum acquisitio perservitiumregumaut 
is a perplexing sentence. It starts with magnatum dignitatem quandam habet ; 
a nominativus pendens, 'riches gotten tamen si assentationibus et servilibus 
by service,' and proceeds, ' though it artificiis, sese ad omnes nutus Jleclendo, 
(i. e. the riches so gotten Bacon at parentur, inter vias vilissimas potent 
the beginning of the Essay uses riches numerari. 'Via' seems to be understood 
as a singular noun) 'be of the best rise' here as the nominative to 'poterit,' but 
(i. e. come from the best source), 'yet the entire passage is not a translation, 
when they ' (here we pass at once from but a loose paraphrase necessarily, 
the singular to the plural) 'are gotten since the English text is untranslatable, 
by flattery,' &c., they may be placed r . by how much~\ i. e. inasmuch as or 
amongst the worst ' the worst what ? by the degree in which. Lat. adhuc 
the words stand in antithesis to 'the pejorest haec res quanta, &c. The phrase 
best ' just before, but the sense cannot occurs in several places elsewhere, 
possibly be that the riches so gotten Conf. e. g. ' By how much the more 
are to be placed amongst the worst men ought to beware of this passion.' 
rises. The meaning which underlies the Essay 10. 



they despise them that despair of them ; and none worse 
when they come to them. Be not penny-wise ; riches 
have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, 
sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more. Men 
leave their riches either to their kindred, or to the public ; 
and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great 
state 8 left to an heir is as a lure to all the birds of prey 
round about to seize on him, if he be not the better* 
stablished in years and judgment : likewise, glorious gifts 
and foundations are like sacrifices without salt ; and but i 
the painted sepulchres of alms, which soon will putrefy 
and corrupt inwardly : therefore measure not thine ad- y 
vancements u by quantity, but frame them by measure : 
and defer not charities till death ; for certainly, if a man 
weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another 
man's than of his own. 


P. 247, 1. 4. so saith Salomon} Eccles. v. n. 
1. 14. as Salomon saith} Prov. xviii. n. 
1. 17. great riches have sold &c.] Conf. : 

' Sed plures nimia congesta pecunia cura 
Strangulat,' &c. Juvenal, x. 12-18. 

1. 22. as Cicero saith &c.] Not of Rabirius Postumus, but of his 
father. ' Fuit enim, pueris nobis, hujus pater, C. Curius . . . cujus 
in negotiis gerendis magnitudinem animi non tantum homines pro- 
bassent nisi in eodem benignitas incredibilis fuisset, ut in augenda re 

8 a great state] i. e. a great fortune. 
Lat. divitiae magnae. Conf. 
' I'll give her five hundred pound 

more to her marriage 
Than her own state.' 

Ben Jonson, Alchemist, v. 5. 
* if he be not the better} i. e. if he be 
not thoroughly well. For this use of 
the comparative, conf. Essay 47, ' or 
else that he be counted the honester 
man,' and note on passage. 

u thine advancements} Lat. dona tua. 

Conf. ' The jointure and advancement 
assured by the king of Scotland was 
two thousand pounds a year.' Works, 
vi. 216. And, ' I conceive by this ad 
vancement, which first and last I have 
left her, besides her own inheritance, 
I have made her of competent abilities 
to maintain the estate of a viscountess.' 
Letters and Life, vii. 541. ' Women 
who, having been advanced by their 
husbands.' (Lat. ad terras promotae), 
Works, vi. 161. 


non avaritiae praedam, sed instrumentum bonitati quaerere videretur.' 
Pro C. Rabirio Postumo, cap. 2. 

1. 25. Salomon] Prov. xxviii. 20. Quoted also in Advancement 
of Learning, Works, iii. 276. 

1. 26. The poets feign &c.] The reference seems to be to Lucian's 
Timon, 20 : 

EPM. UpoM/jifv, > nXovYe. ri TOVTO ; inro(TKd(is ', f\e\r/deis ^E, S> yevvdfta, 
ov Tv<p\6s (Jiovov dXXa Kat ^o>Xos 3>v. 

IIAOYT. OVK del TOVTO, & 'Ep^iJJ, dXX' ondrav p,ev dnia) trapd nva irf^6e\s 
virb TOV Aios OVK oi'S' OTT<OS f3pa8vs elfJii Kal ^a>X6f dfjifporepois, a>S /xoXty TeXeii> 
en\ TO repp.a K.T.X. 

EPM. OVK dXrjdri TOVTO <pys' eya> ye TOI TroXXovs av flirelv exoipi (rot, x$eff fiev 
ov8e ojSoXoj/, &crre npiacrffai j3pd^o/, eV^j/KOTa?, a<pva> 8e Trjp-fpov TrXovcri'ous Kat 
TroXvTeXeiff eVl Xf VKOV evyovs ei-eXavvovras, ols ov8e KO.V ovos vnrjpe iratTrore K.T.X. 

IIAOYT, c ETpo?oi/ TOUT' earriv, & ''Epp,rj ) Kat ov^t Tots e/iavTOv 7roo~i /3a8t'fa> 
TOTe, ovSe 6 Zevs, dXX' 6 nXovTcoi/ cTroo'TeXXei p.f nap' avrovs are TrXovToSdYijs 
Kal /xeyaXoScopof Kat avros &v' K.T.X. 

The words which follow explain at length that it is of ' the course 
of inheritance, testaments and the like ' that Plutus is here speaking. 

P. 248, 1. 10. not innocent ; for &c.] Conf. Essay 28, of Expense : 
' Riches are for spending, and spending for honour and good actions.' 

1. 21. It was truly observed &c.] ' Lampon, the rich merchant and 
shipmaster, being demanded how he got his goods : " Mary (quoth he) 
my greatest wealth I gained soone and with ease, but my smaller 
estate with exceeding much paine and slowly." ' Plutarch's Morals, 
' That aged men ought to govern the common-wealth.' Holland's 
Translation, p. 319. 

P. 249, 1. 6. chopping of bargains] Conf. note on engrossing, Essay 15. 

1. 10. Usury] For Bacon's views on Usury, conf. Essay 41, and 
notes. It will be observed that in this passage Bacon endorses 
several of the ' witty invectives ' which he quotes without endorse 
ment in the Essay on Usury. 

P. 250, 1. i. the true logician] ' Dialecticae partes duae sunt, Inventio 
et Judicium.' P. Ramus, Dialectica, lib. i. cap. 2. Bacon adopts 
this division and adds to it : ' Artes Logicae quatuor numero sunt : 
divisae ex finibus suis in quos tendunt. Id enim agit homo in 
Rationalibus, aut ut inveniat quod quaesiverit : aut judicet quod 
invenerit ; ut retineat quod judicaverit ; aut tradat quod retinuerit. 
Necesse igitur est ut totidem sint Artes Rationales : Ars inquisitionis 
seu inventionis ; Ars examinis seu judicii ; Ars custodiae seu me 
moriae, et Ars elocutionis seu traditionis.' Works, i. p. 616. 

1. 15. fishing for testaments'] Conf. in Bacon's memoranda : 
' Applieng my self to be inward w th my Ld. Dorsett, per Champners 
ad utilit. testam.' Letters and Life, iv. 77. 

1. 16. as Tacitus saith &c.] Tacitus does not say this of Seneca. 


He reports it as having been said by Publius Suillius and by others. 
Vide Annals, xiii. 42. 

P.251,1. 10. like sacrifices without salt &c.] Conf. Bacon's 'Advice to the 
King touching Sutton's Estate,' with special reference to his founda 
tion of the Charterhouse : ' I find it a positive precept of the old law, 
that there should be no sacrifice without salt . . . This cometh into 
my mind upon this act of M 1 '. Sutton, which seemeth to me as a 
sacrifice without salt, having the materials of a good intention, but 
not powdered with any such ordinances and institutions as may 
preserve the same from turning corrupt, or at the least from 
becoming unsavoury and of little use.' Letters and Life, iv. 249. 

The passage in the Essay seems to be introduced by Bacon as a 
defensive reference to his own attempt to get Button's will set aside, 
and the whole property placed at the disposal of the King. The 
main facts of the case are given in Letters and Life, iv. 247, et seqq, 
Sutton died on Dec. 12, 1611. He had been long preparing to give 
effect to a plan for bestowing the bulk of his great fortune on some 
great public charity. Bacon had been aware of this some years 
before Sutton's death, and had been busying himself about it. We 
find in his private memoranda (1608), ' M d . to goe to my L. of 
Canterbury and interteyn him in good conceyt touching Sutt. will, 
and ye like to S r . J h . Bennett.' Letters and Life, iv. 53. Sutton 
left, at his death, inter alia, ' 8000 lands a year to his college or 
hospital at the Charterhouse (which is not bestowed on the Prince, 
as was given out). There is a school likewise for eight score 
scholars, with ^120 stipend for the school-master and other 
provision for ushers.' This will, of which we learn further details 
in a letter from Chamberlain to Carleton, Dec. 18, 1611, was dis 
puted by ' a certain tanner, pretending to be his heir at common law. 
He was called to the Council table on Sunday, and there bound in 
^100,000 (if he do evict the will) to stand to the King's award and 

Bacon was one of the law officers appointed by the Privy Council 
to hear and report on the case. His ' Letter of Advice to the King 
touching Sutton's Estate ' gives his views about it. They are what 
we might expect from him in a cause in which the Court had so close 
an interest. He declares against the policy of the will ; he is careful 
to remind the King that the Charterhouse is 'a building fit for a 
Prince's habitation ; ' and he suggests various other uses to which 
the several bequests might be put, if the claim of the pretended heir- 
at-law were upheld, and the whole matter thus submitted to the 
King, ' whereby it is both in your power and grace what to do.' He 
advises no illegal interference, nothing that is not grounded upon a 
right, but he gives plenty of reasons why it would be to the advantage 
of the public, as it certainly would have been to the advantage of the 


King and Prince, that the will should not stand : and all this while 
the whole case was still sub judice. 

It appears, from letters which Mr. Spedding does not quote, that 
public opinion ran strongly in favour of Sutton's will, and that the 
Court was believed to side strongly with the tanner. The will was 
finally upheld. 

' The case of Sutton's Hospital ... is come almost to the upshot. 
. . . The four puisne judges began and went all clearly for it, which, 
I assure you, hath much revived the world.' Chamberlain to Carleton, 
June 10, 1613. 

'Yelverton is in speech to be solicitor . . . And some say 
his pleading against the hospital is not the least cause of his prefer 
ment.' Chamberlain to Carleton, Oct. 14, 1613. 

Yelverton got the place, and Bacon, who had been also engaged as 
counsel against the will, was raised to be Attorney-General. He had 
well earned his promotion, by this and by his other services. 



I MEAN not to speak of divine prophecies, nor of heathen 
oracles, nor of natural predictions*; but only of prophecies 
that have been of certain memory, and from hidden causes. 
Saith the Pythonissa to Saul, To-morrow thou and thy son 
shall be with me. Homer hath these verses : 

At domus Aeneae cunctis dominabitur oris, 
Et nati na forum, et qui nascentur ab tilts. 

A prophecy as it seems of the Roman empire. Seneca the 
tragedian hath these verses : 

10 Venient annis 

Saecula sens, quibus Oceanus 
Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens 
Pateat Te/lus, Typhisque novos 
Detegat orbes, nee sit terris 
Ultima Thule: 

natural predictions} i. e. forecasts from known data ; opposed to ' pro 
phecies from hidden causes.' 


a prophecy of the discovery of America. The daughter of 
Polycrates dreamed that Jupiter bathed her father, and 
Apollo anointed him ; and it came to pass that he was 
crucified in an open place, where the sun made his body 
run with sweat, and the rain washed it. Philip of Mace- 
don dreamed he sealed up his wife's belly; whereby he 
did expound it that his wife should be barren ; but Ari- 
stander the soothsayer told him his wife was with child, 
because men do not use to seal vessels that are empty. 
A phantasm that appeared to M. Brutus in his tent said to 10 
him, Philippis iterum me videbis. Tiberius said to Galba, 
Tu quoque, Galba, degustabis imperiuin. In Vespasian's 
time there went a prophecy in the East, that those that 
should come forth of Judea should reign over the world ; 
which though it may be was meant of our Saviour, yet 
Tacitus expounds it of Vespasian. Domitian dreamed, the 
night before he was slain, that a golden head was growing 
out of the nape of his neck ; and indeed the succession 
that followed him for many years made golden times. 
Henry the Sixth of England said of Henry the Seventh, 20 
when he was a lad and gave him water, This is the lad 
that shall enjoy the crown for which we strive. When I 
was in France, I heard from one Dr. Pena that the queen 
mother, who was given to curious arts, caused the king 
her husband's nativity to be calculated under a false name ; 
and the astrologer gave a judgment that he should be 
killed in a duel ; at which the queen laughed, thinking her 
husband to be above challenges and duels ; but he was 
slain upon a course at tilt, the splinters of the staff of 
Montgomery going in at his beaver. The trivial prophecy 3 
which I heard when I was a child, and Queen Elizabeth 
was in the flower of her years, was, 

When hetnpe is spunne, 
England's done: 

whereby it was generally conceived that after the princes 


had reigned which had the principial b letters of that word 
hempe (which were Henry, Edward, Mary, Philip, and 
Elizabeth), England should come to utter confusion ; 
which, thanks be to God, is verified only in the change 
of the name; for that the king's style is now no more 
of England, but of Britain. There was also another pro 
phecy before the year of eighty-eight, which I do not well 

There shall be seen upon a day, 
10 Between the Baugh and the May, 

The black fleet of Norway. 
When that that is come and gone, 
England build houses of lime and stone, 
For after wars shall you have none. 

It was generally conceived to be meant of the Spanish 
fleet that came in eigh ty- eight : for that the king of 
Spain's surname, as they say, is Norway. The prediction 
of Regiomontanus, 

Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus, 

20 was thought likewise accomplished in the sending of that 
great fleet, being the greatest in strength, though not in 
number, of all that ever swam upon the sea. As for 
Cleon's dream, I think it was a jest ; it was, that he was 
devoured of a long dragon : and it was expounded of a 
maker of sausages, that troubled him exceedingly. There 
are numbers of the like kind ; especially if you include 
dreams, and predictions of astrology : but I have set down 
these few only of certain credit, for example. My judg 
ment is, that they ought all to be despised, and ought to 

30 serve but for winter talk by the fireside : though when I 
say despised, I mean it as for belief; for otherwise, the 

b prinapiai} i. e. initial. I have not third is the separating of any metal 

found the word in use elsewhere. into his original, or materia prima, or 

Bacon has a word ' principiation,' also element, or call them what you will: 

I think of his own coining. Conf. which work we will call principiation. 1 

' Separation is of three sorts . . . The Works, iii. 8ri. 


spreading or publishing of them is in no sort to be de 
spised, for they have done much mischief; and I see many 
severe laws made to suppress them. That that hath given 
them grace, and some credit, consisteth in three things. 
First, that men mark when they hit, and never mark when 
they miss ; as they do generally also of dreams. The 
second is, that probable conjectures or obscure traditions 
many times turn themselves into prophecies; while the 
nature of man, which coveteth divination, thinks it no 
peril to foretell that which indeed they do but collect c ;io 
as that of Seneca's verse ; for so much was then subject 
to demonstration, that the globe of the earth had great 
parts beyond the Atlantic, which might be probably con 
ceived not to be all sea : and adding thereto the tradition 
in Plato's Timaeus, and his Atlanticus, it might encourage 
one to turn it to a prediction. The third and last (which 
is the great one) is, that almost all of them, being infinite 
in number, have been impostures, and by idle and crafty 
brains merely 3 contrived and feigned, after the event past. 


P. 254, 1. 4. Saith the Pythonissa\ This is the word used in the 
Vulgate about the witch whom Saul consulted. 

' Mortuus est ergo Saul propter iniquitates suas, eo quod praevari- 
catus sit mandatum Domini et non custodierit illud, sed insuper etiam 
Pythonissam consuluerit.' i Chron. x. 13. 

In the story itself she is described as ' mulier pythonem habens.' 
' Dixitque Saul servis suis : Quaerite mihi mulierem habentem 
pythonem, et vadam ad earn et sciscitabor per illam. Et dixerunt 
servi ejus ad eum : Est mulier pythonem habens in Endor.' i Sam. 
xxviii. 7. 

In the next verse Saul bids her ' divina mihi in pythone.' Python 
is the name of the serpent said to have been killed by Apollo. It is 
used also as a name of Apollo himself, as god of divination ; as a 

collect] i. e. infer. ' Men begin in.' Letters and Life, vi. 234. 

already to collect, yea and to conclude, d merely] i. e. wholly. Conf. ' points 

that he that raiseth such a smoke to not merely of faith.' Essay 3, and 

get in, will set all on fire when he is passim, 



name of the spirit which he inspired, and as a name of the inspired 
man. Conf. 2 Kings xxiii. 24, ' Sed et pythones et ariolos et figuras 
idolorum . . . abstulit Josias.' In this last sense the man is called 
python, the woman pythonissa. Its use in the Vulgate marks a 
belief in the identity of heathen gods and devils. 

Bacon, it will be observed, attributes the prophecy not to the spirit 
of Samuel but to the witch. In the LXX. the equivalent word to 
Pythonissa is fyyaarrpinvdos. In late Greek ventriloquists were 
termed TrvOwes and Trvdavio-o-ai. Are we to conclude that Bacon held 
that the spirit of Samuel was not raised, but that a cheat was 
practised on Saul helped out by ventriloquism; or is it a mere 
inaccuracy ? 

1. 5. Homer hath &c.] Vide Virgil, Aen. iii. 97, 98. As far as 
these verses are a prophecy of the Roman Empire they are a 
prophecy after the event. Homer says only 

NCv 8e Si) hlvfiao @ir) Tpatfcrcnv ava^ei, 

Kal TraiBojv TratSes, roi Kfi> peToniaQe yeixavrai. 

II. xx. 307, 308. 

1. 8. Seneca] Vide Medea, act ii. 374-379. Conf. Hakluyt : 
' Howbeit it cannot be denied but that Antiquitie had some kind of 
dimme glimpse and unperfect notion thereof, (i. e. of the new world). 
Which may appear by the relation of Plato in his two worthy 
dialogues of Timaeus and Critias under the discourse of that mighty 
large yland called by him Atlantis, lying in the Ocean Sea without 
the Streight of Hercules . . . being (as he there reporteth) bigger 
than Africa and Asia . . . And Seneca in his tragedie intituled 
Medea foretold above 1500 yeeres past, that in the later ages the 
Ocean would discover new worlds, and that the yle of Thule would 
no more be the uttermost limit of the earth.' Epistle Dedicatory to 
3rd vol. of Voyages (edition of 1810 in 5 vols.). 

Also, ' Plato in Timaeo and in the Dialogue called Critias dis- 
courseth of an incomparable large Hand then called Atlantis, being 
greater than all Affrike and Asia ... so that in these our dayes 
there can no other mayne or islande be found or judged to be 
parcell of this Atlantis, then those Westerne Islands which beare 
now the name of America.' Discourse by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 
Hakluyt, iii. 33. 

Conf. also Acosta, Historie of the East and West Indies : ' Many 
hold opinion that Seneca the Tragedian did prophecie of the 
West Indies in his Tragedie of Medea which translated saith thus ' 
(a translation of the verses follows) ' the which we see plainly now 
accomplished .... But therein may a question with reason be made 
whether Seneca spake this by divination or poetically and by chance. 
I believe he did divine after the manner of wise men and well 
advised.' After various answers suggested to the question, Acosta 


comes to the conclusion that ' Seneca did conjecture this.' Lib. i. 
cap. ii (trans. 1604). 

P. 255, 1. 1. The daughter of Polycrates dreamed Sac.] This well-known 
story is told by Herodotus, iii. 124, 125. Bacon is inaccurate in some of 
the minor details. The dream was not that Apollo anointed him, but 
xpifvdai VTTO TOV r/Xt'ou. He was not crucified, but was first put to 
death, and then hung upon a cross : e'xpt'ero Sc vnb TOV f)\iov, dvie\s 
avros fK TOV o-o>p.dTos iK/j.d8a. Peucer, in his De Divinatione ex Somniis, 
mentions this dream and its fulfilment, accurately. 

1. 5. Philip of Macedori] This story is told, among others, by 
Plutarch in his life of Alexander the Great : ' King Philip . . . shortly 
after he was maried, dreamed that he did scale his wives belly, and 
that the scale wherewith he sealed left behind the print of a 
Lion. Certaine wizards and soothsayers told Philip that this dreame 
gave him warning to looke straightly to his wife. But Aristander 
Telmesian answered againe that it signified his wife was conceived 
with child, for that they do not scale a vessell that hath nothing in it : 
and that she was with child with a boy, which should have a Lions 
heart.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 673. 

1. 10. A phantasm &c.] ' He (Brutus) thought he heard one come 
in to him, and casting his eye towards the doore of his tent, that he saw a 
wonderfull straunge and monstrous shape of a bodie comming towards 
him and sayd never a word. So Brutus boldly asked him what he was. 
. . . The spirit answered him, " I am thy evill spirit, Brutus : and thou 
shalt see me by the citie of Philippes." Brutus being no otherwise 
afraid, replied againe unto it : " Well then I shall see thee againe." ' 
Plutarch, Life of Brutus, North's translation, p. 1006. 

Conf. also : MeXXoira 8e nfpav e'/c TJ)? 'Atrias es TTJV TLvpdnrrjv o~vv TiS 
orpaTw, VVKTOS fypijyopoTa, /xapati>o/xe'i/ou TOV (parrd?, o^fiv I8fiv ((paa-li/) '<pff- 
Ta>o~dv ol irapd\oyov' Kal irvdeadat pev fvdap<rS>s, carts dvdpamav rf 6eS>v (it)' TO 
8e <pdo~p.a finely' 'O (rds, 3> BpoCre, 8aifna>v KOKOS' 6(p6r)( 8e croi KOI ev 
JuAtTTTroiy. Kal 6(f)drjvai (paffiv avTin Trpo TTJS Tf\fVTaias /id^;y. Appian, De 

Bello Civili, iv. 134. 

Peucer, in his De Divinatione ex Somniis, mentions this dream : 
' Tuus ego sum Brute KaKoSai/xup, malus genius, in Philippis me 

1. ii. Tiberius said] ' Non omiserim praesagium Tiberii de Servio 
Galba turn consule ; quern, accitum et diversis sermonibus perten- 
tatum, postremo Graecis verbis in hanc sententiam adlocutus " et tu, 
Galba, quandoque degustabis imperium " seram ac brevem potentiam 
significans, scientia Chaldaeorum artis,' &c. Ann. vi. 20. 

Suetonius ascribes the prophecy to Augustus, not to Tiberius : 
' Constat Augustum puero adhuc salutanti se inter aequales, adpre- 
hensa buccula, dixisse, Kal o-v TCKVOV TTJS dpxrjs T^COI/ irapaTp^rj. Sed et 
Tiberius, quum comperisset imperaturum eum, verum in senecta : 

S 2 


" Vivat sane," ait, " quando id ad nos nihil pertinet." ' Life of Galba, 
cap. iv. 

1. 12. In Vespasian's time} To Se enapav avrovs (TOVS 'lovdaiovs) 
/xdXicrra Trpbs riv 7r6\ep.ov r\v -^prfcr^os dfjL<pi(3o\os 6/iouos tv rots if pots TjvprjfjLfvos 
ens Kara rbv Kcupbv eKfivov dirb rfjs ^wpa? TIS a\>Ta>v api TJ)S 
Tovro ot p.ev o>s otKflov eeXa/3oj/ Kai TroXXot rS>v crocpaiv enXavrj- 
6r)crav nfpl rf)V Kplcriv. '17X011 8 apa TTJV Ovecrncuriavov TO \6yiov f]yp,oviav, 
CTroSeix&Wos eVi 'lovSat'ns avroKparopos. Josephus, De Bello Jud. vi. 5. 

So too Tacitus : ' Pluribus persuasio inerat antiquis sacerdotum 
litteris contineri eo ipso tempore fore ut valesceret Oriens, profec- 
tique Judaea rerum potirentur, quae ambages Vespasianum ac Titum 
praedixerat.' Tac. Hist. v. 13. 

And Suetonius : ' Percrebuerat Oriente toto vetus et constans 
opinio : esse in fatis ut eo tempore Judaea profecti rerum potirentur. 
Id de Imperatore Romano, quantum eventu postea praedictum paruit, 
Judaei ad se trahentes, rebellarunt.' Life of Vespasian, cap. iv. 

1. 16. Domitian dreamed] ' Ipsum etiam Domitianum ferunt 
somniasse, gibbam sibi pone cervicem auream enatam : pro certoque 
habuisse beatiorem post se laetioremque portendi reipublicae statum. 
Sicut sane brevi evenit abstinentia et moderatione insequentium 
Principum.' Suetonius, Life of Domitian, cap. 23, concluding words. 

The story is told also in the Advancement of Learning. Works, 
iii. p. 303. 

1. 20. Henry the Sixth of England &c.] Conf. Bacon's History of 
King Henry VII : ' One day when King Henry the Sixth (whose 
innocency gave him holiness) was washing his hands at a great feast, 
and cast his eye upon King Henry, then a young youth, he said : 
" This is the lad that shall possess quietly that that we now strive 
for." ' Works, vl. 245. 

Bacon has here followed Bernard Andre's account : ' Henrico 
Sexto quadam die cum proceribus et optimatibus regni convivium 
amplissimum agente, idem rex inter lavandum manus, comite Riche- 
mundiae accito, praedixerat ilium aliquando regni gubernacula 
suscepturum, omniaque manu sua (ut nunc videmus feliciter possidet) 
habiturum.' Bernardi Andreae Vita Henrici VII. p. 14 (edition of 
1858, by Gairdner). 

Hall tells the story somewhat differently, and with a more distinct 
touch of the marvellous : ' In this season Jasper erle of Penbroke 
went into Wales to visit his countie of Penbroke, where he found 
lord Henry, sonne to his brother Edmond Erie of Richmond, having 
not fully ten yeres of his age complete . . . Jasper erle of Penbroke 
toke this child beying his nephew out of the custodie of the Lady 
Harbert, and at his return he brought the childe to London to King 
Henry the sixte, whom when the kyng had a good space by himself 
secretly beholden and marked, both his wit and his likely towardnes, 


he said to such princes as were then with him : " Lo surely this is he, 
to whom both we and our adversaries levying the possession of all 
thynges, shall hereafter geve rome and place." So this holy man 
shewed before the chaunce that should happen.' Hall's Chronicle, 
p. 287 (edition 1809). 

Holinshed, who gives Hall's Chronicle in his list of authorities, 
repeats Hall's version in almost the same words. Chronicle, vol. iii. 
p. 302 (edition of 1808). 

Shakespeare, with the licence of a poet, amplifies the story still 
further and varies the place and circumstances : 

' King Henry. My lord of Somerset, what youth is that 

Of whom you seem to have so tender care ? 
Som. My liege, it is young Henry, Earl of Richmond. 
KingH. Come hither, England's hope : if secret powers 
Suggest but truth to my divining thoughts, 
This pretty lad will prove our country's bliss. 
His looks are full of peaceful majesty, 
His head by nature framed to wear a crown, 
His hand to wield a sceptre ; and himself 
Likely in time to bless a regal throne,' &c. 

King Henry VI, Part III, iv. 6. 

He refers to it again in his account of Henry's dreams on the eve 
of the battle of Bosworth : 

' Ghost of King Henry the Sixth rises :- 
Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror; 
Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king 
Doth comfort thee in thy sleep ; live and flourish.' 

King Richard III, v. 3. 

Bacon says that, partly on account of this prediction and of the 
holiness which it was supposed to imply, Henry VII tried to induce 
Pope Julius to canonize Henry VI for a saint. The attempt did not 
succeed ; because, as Bacon believed, the Pope, ' knowing that King 
Henry VI was reputed in the world abroad but for a simple man, 
was afraid it would but diminish the estimation of that kind of 
honour, if there were not a distance kept between innocents and 
saints.' Works, vi. 233. 

It was a ' natural prediction ' in any case. Henry was in the direct 
succession on the Lancastrian side. He had just been freed from the 
custody in which he had been kept, as such. Edward IV, who was 
neither prophet nor saint, did his best, some years afterwards, to get 
him out of the hands of the Duke of Brittany and to put him to death, 
so troubled was he at the thought of the young earl's title, and so 
unsafe did he feel while this rival claimant was alive. 
1. 22. When I was in France, &c.] Bayle has an interesting 


note on this and on various other prophecies uttered about Henry II 
and his brother the Duke of Orleans. The story told to Bacon is 
there shown to have been of anything but ' certain memory.' Pro 
phecies there were in abundance about the King, but no such 
prophecy as that in the text, and no one which was even approxi 
mately fulfilled. The story in the text was, in Bayle's opinion, not 
told at all until after the event, and even then with discrediting 
variations. Dictionary, sub tit. Henry II. 

P. 256, 1. 10. Between the Baugh and the May] Probably between the 
Bass Rock and the Isle of May, in the Firth of Forth. Some ships 
of the Armada were driven thither in 1588. This explanation is 
given in Mr. Aldis Wright's edition of the Essays. I can find no 
authority for the statement that 'the King of Spain's surname, as 
they say, is Norway.' 

1. 17. The prediction of Regiomontanus] This it can hardly be 
called. The history of the prediction is as follows. John Muller 
of Konigsberg, thence called Regiomontanus, at some time shortly 
before his death in 1470, is said to have written four lines in German 
foretelling great revolutions in 1588. These lines Caspar Bruschius 
latinized in 1553 and so enlarged them and altered them from their 
original sense as to make a wholly new prediction from them. Bacon 
is quoting therefore, not from the prediction of Regiomontanus, but 
from the latinized version of Bruschius. Eight lines, of which the 
line in the text forms one, are given in Bayle's Dictionary, sub tit. 
Stofler, as the work of Bruschius : 

' Post mille expletos a partu virginis annos, 

Et post quingentos rursus ab axe datos, 
Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus 

Ingruet, et secum tristia fata trahet. 
Si non hoc anno totus male concidet orbis, 

Si non in nihilum terra fretumque ruat : 
Cuncta tamen mundi sursum ibunt atque deorsum 

Imperia, et luctus undique grandis erit.' 

It is not certain that we have, even so, the complete version. De 
Thou says that the events were fixed to happen in the time of one 
Sextus, of whom the eight lines say nothing. He speaks of the 
original four lines as accessible in his day, but he does not say what 
they were. It is not easy to see how the above prediction can be 
thought to have been accomplished in the sending of the Spanish 
Armada. De Thou, a firm believer in astrological science, finds 
something of an accomplishment for it in the turn which might have 
been taken by the events of the year in France, and in various 
portents which actually did happen. His account of the whole 
affair is, ' Hie annus (1588) non furibundis vatum vocibus, sed certis 


mathematicorum praedicationibus ubique mirabilis, praecipue apud 
nos funestus fuit regno florentissimo . . . paene everso. Joannes 
Mullerus, a cognomine in Franconia oppido Regiomontanus dictus, 
secundum Ptolemaeum omnium qui nobilissimas has artes tractarunt 
doctissimus, diu ante id praemonuerat quatuor versibus seu rhythmis 
vernacula lingua exaratis, qui in Castellensi superioris Norici coenobio 
hodie leguntur, ante xxxv annos a Gaspare Bruschio Egrano . . . 
publicati : quos cum ille interpretaretur (quod mihi mirari saepius 
subiit) quanquam minime linguae suae ignarus, tamen dum verba 
Germanica aliter quam scripta erant latine reddit, vaticinium Regio- 
montani longe alio maiore cumulavit, si quidem id quod ab illo 
praedictum erat sub Sexto quodam eventurum tradit . . . Regiomon 
tanus autem, ut de tanto viro obiter aliquid dicam, anno salutis 
CIDCCCCLXX Romae decessit . . . Hujus talis tantique viri de hoc 
anno praedictiones postea Joannes Stoflerus Justingensis confirmavit 
et post eum alii.' Conf. Thuani Historiae, cap. xc. sub tnif., and Bayle, 
sub titt. Bruschius and Stofler. 

1. 22. As for Cleon's dream] The reference is to the Knights, 
197 et seq. : 

'AXX' onorav pap^y ftvpcrderos 

Tap.ffrrjXfjo'i dpaKovra KoaXe/zoi/ 

Ai) Tore- na$Xayoj/a>j' pev aTroXXvrai 17 crxopoSaX/u?/, 

KoiXioTrwXTyo-ii/ 8e debs pfya Kvdos OTrdfci, 

At KO. pri TrwXeiv aXXai/ra? /naXXov eXcoi/rai. 

This, however, was not a dream of Cleon's, but an oracle stolen 
from him by Nicias. It says nothing about his being devoured 
by a dragon. It was expounded of a maker of sausages, but not in 
Cleon's presence, so that it was not its exposition that troubled him, 
but its threatened fulfilment, towards the end of the play, in the 
sense in which he himself understood it. Bacon, feeling his way in 
the dark, says with his usual caution, ' I think it was a jest.' 

P. 257, 1. 2. / see many severe laws made &c.] e. g. 33 Henry VIII, 
cap. 14 ; 3 & 4 Edward VI, cap. 15 ; 5 Elizabeth, cap. 15 ; 23 Elizabeth, 
cap. 2 ; all of which are severe laws made against fond and phantas- 
tical prophecies. The act of 5 Elizabeth ordains a fine of /io and 
one year's imprisonment for the first offence, and the forfeiture of all 
goods and imprisonment for life for the second offence in the case of 
those who endeavour by these means ' to make rebellion, insurrection, 
dissension, loss of life or other disturbance within this realm.' 
The act of 23 Elizabeth makes it felony ' if any person by any figure, 
casting of nativity or by calculation prophesying witchcraft conjura 
tion, &c., seek to know and shall set forth by writing how long the 
Queen shall live or who shall reign after her death or shall utter any 
prophecies to any such intent.' 

1. 5. men mark when they hit} Conf. 'J'en veoy qui estudient et 


glosent leurs almanacs, et nous en alleguent 1'auctorite aux choses 
qui se passent. A tant dire, il fault qu'ils disent et la verite et le 
mensogne : quis est enim qui totum diem jaculans non aliquando 
conlineet ? Je ne les estime de rien mieulx pour les veoir tumber en 
quelque rencontre, . . . Joinct que personne ne tient registre de 
leurs mescontes, d'autant qu'ils sont ordinaires et infinis.' Montaigne, 
Essays, bk. i. chap. n. 

1. 14. the tradition in Plato's &c.] i. e. the tradition that there had 
been a huge island, called Atlantis, lying to the west, just outside the 
pillars of Hercules, and larger in extent than Asia and Libya 
together. From this island there was a passage possible to other 
islands and thence to the solid continent on the shores of the true 
Ocean, i. e. of the Atlantic Ocean. The island of Atlantis had been 
swallowed up by an earthquake. The solid continent remained, so 
that in Plato's tale ' the globe of the earth had great parts beyond the 
Atlantic, not all sea.' Timaeus, p. 24, E. In the Critias, called by 
Bacon in the text the Atlanticus, (a title given as an alternative in 
some early editions of Plato ; e. g. in Henry Stephen's Greek and Latin 
folio of 1578), there is a long detailed account of the lost island of 
Atlantis and of its inhabitants and laws. 



AMBITION is like choler, which is an humour that maketh 
men active, earnest, full of alacrity, and stirring, if it be not 
stopped : but if it be stopped and cannot have his way, it 
becometh adust a , and thereby malign and venomous. So 
ambitious men, if they find the way operi for their rising 
and still get forward, they are rather busy than dangerous ; 
but if they be checked in their desires, they become 
secretly discontent, and look upon men and matters with 
an evil eye, and are best pleased when things go back- 
10 ward ; which is the worst property in a servant of a prince 
or state. Therefore it is good for princes, if they use 

adust] Explained in Bullokar's doth neither melt nor scorch . . . doth 
English Expositor as 'burnt, scorched.' mellow and not adure.' Works, ii. 
Conf. ' Such a degree of heat which 446. 


ambitious men, to handle it so as they be still progressive 
and not retrograde ; which, because it cannot be without 
inconvenience, it is good not to use such natures at all ; 
for if they rise not with their service, they will take order 
to make their service fall with them. But since we have 
said it were good not to use men of ambitious natures, ex 
cept it be upon necessity, it is fit we speak in what cases 
they are of necessity. Good commanders in the wars must 
be taken, be they never so ambitious ; for the use of their 
service dispenseth with b the rest: and to take a soldier 10 
without ambition is to pull off his spurs. There is also 
great use of ambitious men in being screens to princes in 
matters of danger and envy; for no man will take that 
part except he be like a seeled dove , that mounts and 
mounts because he cannot see about him. There is use 
also of ambitious men in pulling down the greatness of 
any subject that overtops ; as Tiberius used Macro in the 
pulling down of Sejanus. Since therefore they must be 
used in such cases, there resteth to speak how they are 
to be bridled that they may be less dangerous. There is ^o 
less danger of them if they be of mean birth than if they 
be noble ; and if they be rather harsh of nature than 
gracious and popular; and if they be rather new raised 
than grown cunning and fortified in their greatness. It is 
counted by some a weakness in princes to have favourites ; 
but it is, of all others, the best d remedy against ambitious 
great ones ; for when the way of pleasuring and dis 
pleasuring lieth by the favourite, it is impossible any 

b dispenseth with~\ i. e. excuses, or c a seeled dove'] i. e. a dove with the 

compensates for. Lat. caetera compen- eyelids sewn up. Lat. instar columbae 

sat. Either sense will suit the text. Conf. occaecatae. Notes and Illustrations, 

' To save a brother's life p. 267. 

Nature dispenses with the deed.' d of all others the best] i. e. better 

Measure for Measure, act iii. sc. i. than any others. For this frequent 

And, 'One loving hour Graecism, conf. 'Heresies and 

For many years of sorrow can schisms are of all others the greatest 

dispense.' scandals.' Essay 3. 
Fairy Queen, bk. i. canto 3. st. 30. 


other should be over great. Another means to curb them 
is to balance them by others as proud as they : but then 
there must be some middle counsellors 6 to keep things 
steady; for without that ballast the ship will roll too much. 
At the least, a prince may animate and inure some meaner 
persons to be as it were scourges to ambitious men. As 
for the having of them obnoxious to f ruin, if they be of 
fearful natures it may do well ; but if they be stout and 
daring, it may precipitate their designs and prove dan- 

10 gerous. As for the pulling of them down, if the affairs 
require it, and that it may not be done g with safety sud 
denly, the only way is the interchange continually of 
favours and disgraces, whereby they may not know what 
to expect, and be as it were in a wood. Of ambitions, it 
is less harmful the ambition to prevail in great things, than 
that other to appear in everything; for that breeds con 
fusion and mars business : but yet it is less danger to have 
an ambitious man stirring in business than great in de 
pendencies h . He that seeketh to be eminent amongst able 

20 men hath a great task ; but that is ever good for the 
public : but he that plots to be the only figure amongst 
ciphers is the decay of an whole age. Honour hath three 
things in it : the vantage ground to do good ; the approach 
to kings and principal persons ; and the raising of a man's 

6 some middle counsellors &c.] The and that your Majesty shall be still 

Latin gives this more fully and clearly. within your own land,' &c. Letters 

Sed turn opus est consiiiariis aliquibus and Life, vi. 139. 

woderatoribus, qui paries medias h great in dependencies] Lat. qui 

teneant. gratia et clientelis pallet. So Bacon, in 

f obnoxious to~] i. e. somewhat under his Apology concerning the Earl of 

the influence of, or in the power of ; Essex, says, ' I always vehemently 

hence, exposed to ; in danger of. dissuaded him from seeking greatness 

Lat. ut se ruinae proximos putent. by a military dependance, or by a 

Conf. ' Obnoxious to him for his popular dependance, as that which 

favours and benefits.' Works, vi. 64, would breed in the Queen jealousy, in 

and Mr. Spedding's note on word. himself presumption, and in the State 

g and that it may not be done~] A perturbation.' Letters and Life, iii. 

frequent form. Conf. e. g. ' Although 145. 
your journey be but as a long progress, 


own fortunes. He that hath the best of these intentions 
when he aspireth is an honest man ; and that prince that 
can discern of these intentions in another that aspireth is 
a wise prince. Generally, let princes and states choose 
such ministers as are more sensible of duty than of rising, 
and such as love business rather upon conscience than 
upon bravery * ; and let them discern a busy nature from 
a willing mind. 


P. 265, 1. 12. in being screens to princes &c.] Conf. Bacon's Advice to 
Villiers : ' Kings and great princes, even the wisest of them, have 
had their friends, their favourites, their privadoes. . . . Of these they 
make several uses : sometimes ... to interpose them between them 
selves and the envy or malice of their people ; for kings cannot err : 
that must be discharged upon the shoulders of their ministers ; and 
they who are nearest unto them must be content to bear the greatest 
load.' Letters and Life, vi. 27. And, ' Expostulantibus quibusdam, 
quod honore dignaretur, ceterisque praeferret, hominem improbum 
ac civibus invisum : Volo, inquit, esse quern me magis oderint. 
Agnovit ingenium multitudinis ; si sit in quern invidiam odiumque 
derivent, mitiores sunt in principem.' Erasmus, Apophthegmata, 
sub tit. Dionysius. 

1. 14. a seeled dove} Conf. ' Now she brought him to see a seeled 
Dove, who the blinder she was, the higher she strave.' Sidney's 
Arcadia, lib. i. p. 55 (4th ed. 1613). 

The process of seeling is fully described in the ' St. Alban's Booke 
of hauking, huntyng, and fysshyng.' Conf. ' How ye shal demeane 
you in taking of hawkes, &c. Who will take hawkes he must have 
nettes . . . and he must take with him nedle and threede to ensyle 
the hawkes that bene taken. And in this maner they must be 
ensyled. Take the nedle and threde and put it through the over 
eyelid and so of that other, and make them fast under the becke that 
she se not. Then she is ensyled as she ought to be.' 

Conf. also George Turbervile, Booke of Falconrie, p. 88 (printed by 
Thomas Purfoot, 1611), How to seele a Sparow hawke, &c. : ' A 
Sparow hawke newly taken should be thus used; take a needle 
threeded with untwisted thread, and (casting your hawke) take her 
by the beake and put the needle through her eyelidde,' &c. &c., the 
end of the operation to be ' that the hawke may see not at all.' 

1 upon bravery] Lat. ex ostentaiione. Italian, per far mostra. 


Some lines of Denham in the Sophy seem to have been suggested 
by the passage in the Essay. 

' KING loq. Since blinded with, ambition he did soar 

Like a seel'd dove, his crime shall be his punishment, 
To be deprived of sight.' Act iii. sc. i. 

1. 17. as Tiberius used Macro] Dio Cassius (lib. Iviii. cap. 9) says 
that Tiberius, when he thought the time ripe for dealing a final blow 
at Sejanus, sent Macro to Rome to take command of the praetorian 
guards, and with letters to the Senate and private instructions telling 
him what he was to do to help on the main plot. These instructions 
Macro carried out. 

P. 266, 1. 21. the only figure amongst ciphers &c.] This is a charge which 
Bacon lays against the Cecils, and of which he believed himself to have 
been the victim. Conf. ' In the time of the Cecils, the father and the 
son, able men were by design and of purpose suppressed.' Letters 
and Life, vi. 6. Just after the death of the Earl of Salisbury, he writes 
to the King urging his own virtues and just claims to an advancement 
which he had not obtained, but which he hopes to obtain ' now that 
he is gone, quo vivente virtutibus certissimum exitium.' Letters and 
Life, iv. 282. 

P. 267, 1. 2. is an honest man] This is an easy judgment. It reckons 
honesty by intentions which may never have been carried out in act. 
Bacon may, perhaps, be thought to have had his own case in mind. 
In his eager strivings after office, it is not unlikely that, along with 
his mere personal aims, there was some genuine desire ' to gain a 
vantage ground to do good,' or at least to pose before the world as a 
great public benefactor, and that dating back to this motive, he was 
able to please himself with the belief that he had been ' an honest 



THESE things are but toys to come amongst such serious 
observations ; but yet, since princes will have such things, 
it is better they should be graced with elegancy, than 
daubed with cost. Dancing to song is a thing of great 
state and pleasure. I understand it that the song be in 

* Triumphs] i.e. Shows of some magnificence. So passim. 



quire, placed aloft and accompanied with some broken 
music b ; and the ditty fitted to the device". Acting in 
song, especially in dialogues, hath an extreme good grace ; 
I say acting, not dancing d (for that is a mean and vulgar 
thing) ; and the voices of the dialogue would be e strong 
and manly (a base and a tenor, no treble), and the ditty 
high and tragical, not nice or dainty. Several quires 
placed one over against another, and taking the voice by 
catches anthem-wise, give great pleasure. Turning dances 
into figure is a childish curiosity; and generally, let it be 10 
noted that those things which I here set down are such as 
do naturally take the sense, and not respect petty wonder 
ments. It is true the alterations of scenes, so it be quietly 
and without noise, are things of great beauty and pleasure ; 
for they feed and relieve the eye before it be full of the 
same object. Let the scenes abound with light specially 
coloured and varied ; and let the masquers, or any other 

b broken music] Broken music 
means what we now term ' a string 
band.' The term originated probably 
from harps, lutes, and such other 
stringed instruments as were played 
without a bow, not having the capa 
bility to sustain a long note to its full 
duration of time. Chappell's Ballad 
Literature and Popular Music, vol. i. p. 
246, note c, on a passage quoted from 
Richard Braithwait, distinguishing 
between Sackbuts, Cornets, Shawms, 
and ' such other instruments going with 
wind,' and ' Viols, Violins or other 
broken musicke.' 

the ditty fitted to the device] i. e. 
the words of the song fitted to the 
general plot or plan of the Masque. 
Of ' ditty ' = the words as distinguished 
from the music, we have the clearest 
instance in Hooker's Ecclesiastical 
Polity, bk. v. chap. 38. sec. i : ' So 
that, although we lay altogether aside 
the consideration of ditty or matter, 
the very harmony of sounds being 
framed in due sort and carried from 
the ear to the spiritual faculties of our 

souls, is ... able both to move and to 
moderate all affections.' For ' device,' 
conf. Kenilworth Festivities (1825), 
Part ii. pp. 28, 29, being a reprint 
of Gascoigne's Princely Pleasures at 
Kenilworth, 1575 : ' The device of the 
Lady of the Lake was also by Master 
Hannis, and surely if it had been 
executed according to the first inven 
tion it had been a gallant shew, for, &c. 
And now you have as much as I could 
remember of the devices executed 
there ; the Coventry shew excepted 
and the merry marriage.' Conf. also, 
Beaumont and Fletcher, the Masque 
of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn, 
the heading of which is 'The Device 
or Argument' giving the plot of the 

d not dancing] i. e. the dancer is not 
himself to sing. Dancing ' in song ' 
is what Bacon condemns, ' dancing to 
song,' i. e. to the song and music of 
others, he has just before approved 
as 'a thing of great state and plea 

6 would be\ i. e. ought to be. 



that are to come down from the scene, have some motions 
upon the scene itself before their coming down ; for it 
draws the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure 
to desire to see that it cannot perfectly discern. Let the 
songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or pulings : 
let the music likewise be sharp and loud and well placed. 
The colours that show best by candlelight are white, car 
nation, and a kind of sea-water green ; and oes f or spangs, 
as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. 
10 As for rich embroidery, it is lost and not discerned. Let 
the suits of the masquers be graceful, and such as become 
the person when the vizors are off; not after examples of 
known attires; Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. 
Let anti-masques g not be long ; they have been commonly 
of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men, antics h , beasts, sprites, 
witches, Ethiopes, pigmies, turquets 1 , nymphs, rustics, 

f oes~\ Explained by the words which 
follow, and = round spangles or 
' spangs,' a name given from their 
shape, like that of the letter O. Conf. 
' In the seventeenth year of her reign, 
he showed that a patent was first 
granted to Robert Sharp to make 
Spangles and Oes of gold.' D'Ewes, 
Journals of Queen Elizabeth's Parlia 
ments, p. 650 (ed. 1682). 
' Fair Helena ; who more engilds 
the night 

Than all yon fiery oes and eyes 

of gold.' 
Midsummer Night's Dream, iii. 2. 

B anti-masques] A word variously 
explained ; as (i) a performance op 
posed to the principal masque, being 
of a lower character, and having a 
distinct independent plot : (2) as a 
mistaken spelling for ante-masque, or 
introduction to the main performance ; 
(3) as a hurried pronunciation of the 
full form, antic-masque. The examples 
of it show that it was sometimes an 
introduction, but more often an inter 
lude ; that it was always comic and 

buffoonish ; and that it was generally, 
but not always, independent of the 
main plot of the piece. In Ben 
Jonson's Masque of Augurs, it is 
twice called an antic-masque. ' NOTCH 
loq. ''Sir, all our request is, since we 
are come we may be admitted, if not 
for a masque for an an tick masque." ' 
And again. 'GROOM. "But what has 
all this to do with our mask ? " VAN- 
GOOSE. " Oh ! Sir, all de better vor an 
antick-mask ; de more absurd it be and 
vrom de purpose, it be ever all de 
better."' We find examples of it in 
Ben Jonson's Masque of Augurs ; in 
Time Vindicated ; in Neptune's 
Triumph, &c., &c. 

h antics'] Posture-mongers, buffoons. 

' Fear not, my Lord ; we can contain 

Were he the veriest antic in the 

Taming of the Shrew, Induction, sc. i. 

1 turquets\ Probably a diminutive of 
Turks, and fit therefore for an anti- 
masque, as Turks for the masque itself. 



Cupids, statuas moving, and the like. As for angels, it 
is not comical enough to put them in anti-masques : and 
anything that is hideous, as devils, giants, is on the other 
side as unfit ; but chiefly, let the music of them be recrea 
tive, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odours 
suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are, in 
such a company as there is steam and heat, things of great 
pleasure and refreshment. Double masques, one of men 
another of ladies, addeth state and variety; but all is 
nothing except the room be kept clear and neat. 

For justs k and tourneys 1 and barriers, the glories of' 
them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers 
make their entry ; especially if they be drawn with strange 
beasts : as lions, bears, camels, and the like ; or in the de 
vices of their entrance, or in the bravery n of their liveries, 
or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armour . 
But enough of these toys. 


P. 269, 1. 9. Turning dances into figure c.] There are several in 
stances of this in Ben Jonson's Masques at Court. Conf. e. g. in the 

k justs] ' Justes, commeth of the 
French (Joustes. i. decursus] andsigni- 
fieth with us, contentions betweene 
Martiall men by speares on horsbacke.' 
Cowell's Interpreter, sub voce ' Justes.' 

1 tourneys] 'Turney (Torneamentum) 
commeth of the French (Tourney, i. 
Decursorium) . . . and as I have 
heard it signifieth with us in England 
those combats that are made with 
arming swords on horsebacke. And 
I thinke the reason of the name to 
proceede from the French ( Tourner. i. 
vertere] because it consisteth much in 
agilitie both of horse and man.' 
Cowell's Interpreter, sub voce ' Tur- 

m barriers^ Barriers, commeth of 
the French (barres] and signifieth with 
us that which the Frenchmen call (jeu 
de barres. i. palaestram) a martial sport 
or exercise of men, armed and fight 

ing together with short swords, within 
certain limits or lists, whereby they 
are severed from the beholders.' 
Cowell's Interpreter, sub voce ' Bar 

n bravery] Fine appointmemt, showi- 
ness. Conf. 'With scarfs and fans, 
and double change of bravery.' Taming 
of the Shrew, iv. 3. 

furniture of their horses and 
armour] i. e. equipment. Conf. ' Neither 
was there anything more base and 
dishonest in the course of their life 
than to use furniture for horses (Lat. 
ephippiis uti^).' Edmundes, Caesar, 
Comment, bk. iv. cap. i. (trans.). 
And, ' Sometimes also soldiers were 
honoured with other gifts, as crownes, 
lances, furniture of horses, bracelets, 
lands,' &c. Segar, Honor Military and 
Civil, bk. i. 20. ' He was furnished 
like a hunter.' As You Like It, iii. a. 


Hymenaei : ' Here they danced forth a most neat and curious measure, 
full of subtlety and device. . . .The strains were all notably different, 
some of them formed into letters, very signifying to the name of the 
Bridegroom, and ended in the manner of a chain, linking hands.' 
And, ' Here they danced their last dances, full of excellent delight 
and change ; and, in their latter strain, fell into a fair orb or circle.' 
And, in the Masque of Queens : ' After it, succeeded their third dance ; 
than which a more numerous composition could not be seen : graphi 
cally disposed into letters, and honouring the name of the most sweet 
and ingenious prince, Charles, Duke of York.' 



NATURE is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom 
extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the 
return ; doctrine and discourse a maketh nature less im 
portune b ; but custom only doth alter and subdue nature. 
He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set 
himself too great nor too small tasks ; for the first will 
make him dejected by often failings, and the second will 
make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings : 
and at the first let him practise with helps, as swimmers 
10 do with bladders or rushes ; but after a time let him prac- 
tise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes ; 
for it breeds great perfection if the practice be harder than 
the use. Where nature is mighty, and therefore the vic 
tory hard, the degrees had need be, first to stay and arrest 
nature in time ; like to him that would say over the four 
and twenty letters when he was angry ; then to go less in 
quantity, as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from 

discourse] Lat. praecepta. c in time] i. e. in the matter of time. 

b importune'] i. e. importunate. The Lat. naturam sistere ad tempus ali- 
Latin adds, serf non tolhmt. quod. 


drinking healths' 1 to a draught at a meal; and lastly, to 
discontinue altogether: but if a man have the fortitude 
and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, that is the 

Optimns ille animi vindex laedentia pectus 
Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque seme!. 

Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend nature as a 
wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it right ; un 
derstanding it where the contrary extreme is no vice. Let 
not a man force a habit upon himself with a perpetual con- 10 
tinuance, but with some intermission : for both the pause 
reinforceth the new onset ; and if a man that is not perfect 
be ever in practice, he shall as well practise his errors as 
his abilities, and induce one habit of both ; and there is no 
means to help this but by seasonable intermissions. But 
let not a man trust his victory over his nature too far ; for 
nature will lay buried a great time, and yet revive upon 
the occasion or temptation ; like as it was with ^Esop's 
damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very de 
murely at the board's end till a mouse ran before her : 20 
therefore let a man either avoid the occasion altogether, or 
put himself often to it that he may be little moved with it. 
A man's nature is best perceived in privateness, for there 
is no affectation ; in passion, for that putteth a man out of 
his precepts ; and in a new case or experiment, for there 
custom leaveth him. They are happy men whose natures 
sort e with their vocations ; otherwise they may say, Mnltum 
incolafuit anima mea, when they converse in those things 
they do not affect. In studies, whatsoever a man com- 
mandeth upon himself, let him set hours for it ; but what- 3 
soever is agreeable to his nature, let him take no care for 
any set times, for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves ; 

d healths] i. e. large draughts. Lat. a les carrouses'. Vide note on Essay 18. 
majoribus haustibus. Fr. les carouces (i.e. e sort] i. e. agree. Lat. coitgntit. 


so as the spaces f of other business or studies will suffice. 
A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds ; therefore 
let him seasonably water the one and destroy the other. 


P. 272, 1. i. seldom extinguished} Conf. 'Les inclinations natu- 
relles s'aydent et fortifient par institution : mais elles ne se chan- 
gent gueres et surmontent.' Montaigne, Essays, bk. iii. ch. 2. 

1. 5. He that seeketh &c.] These are substantially the rules which 
Bacon lays down in the Advancement of Learning. Works, iii. 439. 

P. 273, 1. 5. Optimus tile &c.] Ovid, Remedia Amoris, 293. The 
words are ' optimus ille fuit vindex,' &c. 

1. 7. the ancient rule} "S-Koneiv de del irpbs a nal avrol fvicardtpopoi ecrpev' 
aXXoi yap Trpbs aXXa IT e(pv>. . . . Et? rovvavriov 8' eavrovs d(pf\Kfiv del' 
TroXti yap dirayayovres TOV d/jLaprdveiv (Is TO pe&ov rjo[iev, OTrep ol ra Stearpa/t- 
fj.eva TOIV uXa>i/ opdovvres iroiou(ni>. Arist. Eth. Nicom. ii. cap. 9. sec. 4 
and 5. So Montaigne : ' Pour dresser un bois courbe, on le recourbe 
au rebours.' Essays, bk. iii. ch. 10. 

1. 8. understanding it &c.] The contrary extreme is necessarily a 
vice, but from the nature of the case it is not a vice in which there is 
any danger that the man will persist. Bacon probably had in his 
mind a passage in cap. 6, where Aristotle speaks of certain classes of 
actions as always vicious in whatever degree of excess or moderation 
they are performed : 'Qs &i> Trpdrr^rai dfiaprdveTai. 

1. 12. and if a man that is not perfect &c.] Cicero puts this advice 
into the mouth of Crassus : ' Fallit eos quod audierunt, dicendo 
homines ut dicant efficere solere. Vere enim etiam illud dicitur : 


Quamobrem in istis ipsis exercitationibus, etsi utile est etiam subito 
saepe dicere, tamen illud utilius, sumpto spatio ad cogitandum para- 
tius atque accuratius dicere.' Cic. de Orat. i. 33. 

1. 18. with Aesop's damsel} Conf. 'Aesopi fabulae graecolatinae.' 
Neveletus, Fab. 172. But the fiasco came, not at table, but in the 
marriage chamber. ' Cum in thalamo vero considerent,' &c. 

1. 27. Multum incola fuit anima mea] Ps. cxx. 6, Vulgate. The 
pointing differs in the Vulgate from that of the English versions. In 
the Vulgate the words, as Bacon quotes them, are complete. Verse 
7 continues : ' Cum his qui oderunt pacem eram pacificus.' The 

f so as the spaces, &c.] The Latin will then mean so that, without set- 
renders this by prout negotia et studio. ting apart any fixed hours, he may 
cetera permittunt. But we get a better trust himself to find time and oppor- 
sense by taking as here (as in many tunity in the intervals of other 
places elsewhere) = that. The passage business, 


Septuagint points as the Vulgate does : cxix. 6, IloXXa Trapaxqafv r/ 

tyv\r] juotT jjLfTa ra>v p,i(rovvT(i>v TrjV tipr]vr)V (7) rj^rjv flpqviKos, K.T.\. The 

quotation is one which Bacon elsewhere uses to describe his own 
case. It is one of his stock phrases, and he uses it with grand effect 
for very different occasions. He writes, e.g. in a letter to Sir Thomas 
Bodley, after his fall from high place : ' I think no man may more truly 
say with the Psalm, Multum incolafuit anima mea, than myself. For 
I do confess, since I was of any understanding, my mind hath in 
effect been absent from that I have done . . . knowing myself by 
inward calling to be fitter to hold a book than to play a part, I have 
led my life in civil causes ; for which I was not very fit by nature, 
and more unfit, by the preoccupation of my mind.' Letters and Life, 
iii. 253. Again in a private prayer, written in 1621, and termed by 
Addison the devotion of an angel rather than a man : ' Besides my 
innumerable sins, I confess before thee that I am a debtor to thee for 
the gracious talent of thy gifts and graces, which I have neither put 
into a napkin, nor put it (as I ought) to exchangers where it might 
have made best profit : but misspent it in things for which I was 
least fit : so as I may truly say, my soul hath been a stranger in the 
course of my pilgrimage.' Letters and Life, vii. 230. In an earlier 
letter to the King, written in 1612, asking for employment in state 
business, he uses the same phrase with a drift exactly the opposite : 
' I may truly say with the Psalm, Multum incola fuit anima meaj for 
my life hath been conversant in things wherein I take little pleasure.' 
Letters and Life, iv. 281. The complaint here is that he had not 
been allowed to play a part in civil affairs. It is the sense only which 
shifts. The language and posture are, in either case, magnificent. 



MEN'S thoughts are much according to their inclination : 
their discourse and speeches according to their learning 
and infused opinions a ; but their deeds are after as they 
have been accustomed : and, therefore, as Macciavel well 
noteth (though in an evil-favoured instance) there is no 
trusting to the force of nature nor to the bravery of words, 

" infused opinions] Lat. opiniones quas imbiberunt. 
T 2 


except it be corroborate by custom. His instance is, that 
for the achieving of a desperate conspiracy a man should 
not rest upon the fierceness of any man's nature or his 
resolute undertakings 1 *; but take such an one as hath had 
his hands formerly in blood ; but Macciavel knew not of 
a Friar Clement, nor a Ravillac, nor a Jaureguy, nor a 
Baltazar Gerard ; yet his rule holdeth still, that nature nor 
the engagement of words are not so forcible as custom. 
Only superstition is now so well advanced that men of the 

10 first blood c are as firm as butchers by occupation ; and 
votary resolution d is made equipollent to custom even in 
matter of blood. In other things, the predominancy of 
custom is everywhere visible ; insomuch as a man would 
wonder to hear men profess, protest, engage, give great 
words, and then do just as they have done before, as if 
they were dead images, and engines moved only by the 
wheels of custom. We see also the reign or tyranny of 
custom, what it is. The Indians (I mean the sect of their 
wise men) lay themselves quietly upon a stack of wood, 

20 and so sacrifice themselves by fire : nay, the wives strive 
to be burned with the corpses of their husbands. The 
lads of Sparta of ancient time were wont to be scourged 
upon the altar of Diana, without so much as queching 6 . 

b resolute undertakings] Lat. in pro- prince or person upon whom the com- 

missis constantibus nedum juramentis. mandment went.' Works, vii. 32. 

men of the first blood} i. e. men e queching] Nares (Glossary) ex- 

who have their hands in blood for the plains this word as a variant of quich 

first time. The Latin gives, by an or quinch ; to stir or twist. Conf. 

obvious error, primae classis sicarii. Spenser, Fairie Queen, v. 9, 33 : 

The French, correctly, ceux qui ne sont i With a strong yron chain and 

que novices en matiere de sang. In collar bound 

the Italian version the sentence is That once he could not move nor 

omitted. quich at all.' 

d votary resolution] Lat. decreta Also, View of the State of Ireland : 

votiva, Fr. votarie Je'suitique. Conf. ' I purpose ... to bestow all my 

' There the custom was that upon the souldiers in such sort as I have done, 

commandment of their king, and a blind that no part of all that realme shall be 

obedience to be given thereunto, any able to dare to quinch.' Also Plutarch, 

of them was to undertake, in the nature Laconick apophthegmes (Holland's 

of a votary, the insidious murder of any translation): ' The unhappy beast being 



I remember, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time 
of England, an Irish rebel condemned put up a petition to 
the deputy that he might be hanged in a withe, and not 
in an halter, because it had been so used with former 
rebels. There be monks in Russia for penance that will 
sit a whole night in a vessel of water, till they be engaged f 
with hard ice. Many examples may be put of the force of 
custom both upon mind and body: therefore, since custom 
is the principal magistrate 8 of man's life, let men by all 
means endeavour to obtain good customs. Certainly, 10 
custom is most perfect when it beginneth in young years : 
this we call education, which is in effect but an early 
custom. So we see, in languages the tongue is more 
pliant to all expressions and sounds, the joints are more 
supple to all feats of activity and motions in youth than 
afterwards ; for it is true that late learners cannot so well 
take the ply h , except it be in some minds that have not 

angred, gnawed and bit him in the 
flank as far as to his very bowels, which 
he endured resolutely and never 
quetched at it, for fear he should be 
discover'd (Greek, ijpejuet, i'va ^17 
yei'T/rcu K<ira<pavrj^) .' Also, in passage 
quoted below (p. 279), from Life of 
Alexander, ' nor quitched when the 
fire took him' is in the original OVK 

fKlVTj&r] TOV 7TU/30J ffA.T/O'ia^Ol'TOS'. But 

Bacon, referring elsewhere to the 
story in the text, says 'the Spartan 
boys, which were wont to be scourged 
upon the altar so bitterly as sometimes 
they died of it, and yet were never 
heard complain.' Works, vii. 99. 
Cicero and Montaigne, both of whom 
he may have had in mind, say the 
same. Conf. Cicero, Tusc. Disp. 
v. 27 : ' Pueri Spartiatae non inge- 
miscunt verberum dolore laniati.' 
Montaigne, ii. 32 : 'II se trouvait des 
enfants, en cette preuve de patience a 
quoy on les essayoit devant 1'autel de 
Diane, qui souffroient d'y estre fouettez 
jusques a ce que le sang leur couloit 
par tout, non seulement sans s'escrier, 

mais encore sans gemir.' Elsewhere, 
however, he speaks of them as 'fouettez 
jusques a la mort sans alterir leur 
visage,' bk. i. chap. 40. In the Latin 
translation of the Essays we find the 
passage rendered, vix ejaculatu aut 
gemitu ullo emisso. In the French 
and Italian versions, following the 
edition of 1612, the sentence does not 
appear. There seems, on the whole 
evidence, no doubt as to the proper 
meaning of the word, though this does 
not appear to be the meaning which 
Bacon gave to it and was understood 
by his contemporaries to have given to 

f engaged] i. e. fastened down, Lat. 
donee glade constringantur. 

* principal magistrate] Lat. summits 
humanae vitae moderator el magistrates. 
Conf. ' Natura pedantius quidam est : 
consuetudo magistratus.' Works, i. 
692, Antitheta. 

b cannot so well take the ply] i. e. 
are not so pliant. Lat. novam plicatn 
non bene admittere. Conf. ' He is by 
nature unsociable, and by habit popular, 


suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves open 
and prepared to receive continual amendment, which is 
exceeding rare. But if the force of custom simple and 
separate be great, the force of custom copulate and con 
joined and collegiate 1 is far greater; for there example 
teacheth, company comforteth k , emulation quickeneth, 
glory raiseth ; so as in such places the force of custom 
is in his exaltation 1 . Certainly, the great multiplication 
of virtues upon human nature resteth upon societies well 
10 ordained and disciplined ; for commonwealths and good 
governments do nourish virtue grown, but do not much 
mend the seeds ; but the misery is that the most effectual 
means are now applied to the ends least to be desired. 


P. 275, 1.4. Macciavelwellnoteth\ Speaking of the difficulties attend 
ing the assassination of a Prince he says, ' In such executions an in 
convenient or errour many times arises either for lacke of discretion 
or courage : for, when the one or other of these two once amazes 
thee, thou art borne forward in such confusion of thy understanding 
that it makes thee both say and doe what thou oughtst not . . . For it 
is impossible that any man (though of a resolute courage and 
accustomed to the slaughters of men and use of his weapons) should 
not bee quite astonished. Therefore choice is to be made of men 
experienced in such matters, nor should one commit them to any 
other, however he be esteemed very couragious : so let no man who 
hath not formerly made tryall of himselfe presume too much upon 

and too old now to take a new ply.' position and exercising its utmost 

Letters and Life, vi. 233. influence. Conf. ' Planeta, cum fuerit 

1 collegiate} Lat. in collegium coacta. in exaltatione sua, est sicut vir in regno 

k comforteth} i. e. strengthens. suo et gloria.' R. Bacon, Opus Majus, 

Conf. 'The evidence of God's own p. 164 (Jebb's ed. folio). ' Fontem 

testimony, added to the natural assent facimus planetam ac stellam quamlibet, 

of reason concerning the certainty of quoties eousque ad exaltationem con- 

them, doth not a little comfort and scendit, ut M. penetrat et id secundum 

confirm the same.' Hooker, Eccl. Pol. naturam suam temperet.' Paracelsus, 

bk. i. cap. 12. sec. i. vol. i. p. n a. (The folio ed. of 1658 

1 is in his exaltation} i. e. is highest in three vols. Geneva.) M. is here the 

and most potent ; an astronomical term name of a mysterious ether enveloping 

used about a star in its most dominant the earth. 


his courage in the performance of any great exploit.' Discourses on 
Livy, iii. 6. 

P. 276, 1. 6. Friar Clement} Jacques Clement assassinated Henry III 
of France, 1589. 

Ravillac] Francois Ravaillac assassinated Henry IV of France, 

Jaureguy] John Jaureguy wounded William, Prince of Orange, 
in the head, severely but not fatally, with a pistol-bullet, 1582. 

1. 7. Baltazar Gerard} Assassinated William, 1584. The 
above crimes, to which several others might have been added, were 
committed under the impulse of a strong religious fanaticism and a 
devotion to the Catholic cause. The Latin adds aut Guidone Faulxio, 
and says that, of all these, Macciavello nihil innotuit as if the omission 
had been due to some carelessness on Machiavelli's part ! 

1. 18. The Indians &c.] Conf. ' Quae barbaria India vastior aut 
agrestior ? In ea tamen gente, primum ii qui sapientes habentur, 
nudi aetatem agunt et Caucasi nives hiemalemque vim perferunt sine 
dolore ; cumque ad flammam se applicaverint, sine gemitu adurun- 
tur.' Cicero, Tusc. Disp. v. 27. 

' There also Calanus, the Indian philosopher, . . . prayed that they 
would make him a stacke of wood, such as they use to burn dead 
bodies on ... When he had said these words, he laid him downe 
upon the wood-stacke, covered his face, and never stirred hand nor 
foot, nor quitched when the fire took him, but did sacrifice himselfe 
in this sort, as the maner of his countree was, that the wise men 
should so sacrifice themselves.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 708. 

Lucian refers to the same : ZEY2. Tovs -yv^i/oo-o^io-raf Xeyetr. 'AKOUW 
yovv rd Tf aXAa Trepi avTwv KOI on eVl nvpav /jLfyicrTrjv dvafldvTfs dve^ovTai 
KcuofjLfvoi ovdev TOV (TXT]fiaTOS fj rfjs Ka6e8pas eVrpeTroirey. Fugitivi, see. 7. 

The Latin has loquor de gymosophistis et antiquis et modernise but 
the clear mistake in p. 276, 1. 10, is proof that the translation of this 
Essay was not revised by Bacon. 

1. 20. nay, the wives strive &c.] ' Mulieres vero in India, cum est 
cujusvis earum vir mortuus, in certamen judiciumque veniunt quam 
plurimum ille dilexerit . . . quae est victrix, ea laeta, prosequentibus 
suis, una cum viro in rogum imponitur ; ilia victa, maesta discedit.' 
Cicero, Tusc. Disp. v. 27. 

Conf. also : ' Many of the women also, when their husbands die 
and are placed on the pile to be burnt, do burn themselves along with 
the bodies. And such women as do this have great praise from all.' 
Marco Polo, Travels, iii. 17. 

That the wives were burnt is certain ; and there is evidence that 
they were sometimes willing victims, and abundant evidence that 
they were not always so. 

P. 277, 1. i. / remember &c.] That withes or withies were used for 


halters is certain. There is a story that among some Irish rebels, 
captured by Raleigh in 1580, ' There was one who carried and was 
laden with withs, which they used instead of halters : and being 
demanded what he would do with them, and why he carried them, 
gave answer that they were to hang up English churls : for so they 
call Englishmen. Is it so (quoth the captain) well, they shall now 
serve for an Irish kerne ; and so commanded him to be hanged up 
with one of his own withs.' Hooper's continuation of Holingshed's 
Chronicles, vol. vi. p. 437 (ed. of 1808). 

Conf. also Rob Roy, chap. 17 : ' There is as much between the craig 
and the woodie as there is between the cup and the lip. 1 A note 
explains ' the craig and the woodie ' as = the throat and the withy ; 
and adds ' that twigs of willow, such as bind fagots, were often used for 
halters in Scotland and Ireland, being a sage economy of hemp.' 

The tale of the petition to the deputy rests, as far as I can discover, 
on Bacon's word that he remembers the occurrence. It is told by 
Cox of Bryan O'Rourke who was hanged in 1597 : ' Of this O'Rourke 
there go two pleasant stcries ; . . . the other that he gravely petitioned 
the Queen, not for life or pardon, but that he might be hanged with a 
gad or with, after his own countrey fashion ; which doubtless was 
readily granted him.' Cox, Hibernia Anglicana, p. 399 (ed. 1689). 

Cox gives as his authorities, O'Sullevan, Historiae Catholicae 
compendium, who does not mention the story at all, and Bacon's 
Essay, where the petitioner is not named, and where the date is 
fixed ' in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time.' Mr Wright, in 
his edition of the Essays, says that the incident is introduced into 
the first part of Sir John Oldcastle (K 3 verso, ed. 1600), where the 
Irishman appeals to the judge : ' Prethee Lord ... let me be hanged 
in a wyth after my country the Irish fashion.' Can this be the origin 
of the story, vouched for by Bacon, and repeated after him by Cox ? 

1. 5. monks in Russia &c.] I have not found any exact confirm 
ation of this. There is abundant evidence of the extraordinary 
tolerance of cold by the Russian monks and by the people generally. 
Conf. ' Besides these they have certeyne Eremites (whom they 
call holy men) . . . They use to go starke naked, save a clout about 
their middle . . . even in the very extremity of winter. Of this kinde 
there are not many, because it is a very harde and colde profession 
to goe naked in Russia, especially in winter.' Fletcher, Of the Russe 
Commonwealth, (1591), pp. 89, 90. 

' They have holie water in like use and estimation as the Popish 
Church hath. But herein they exceed them that they hallow all the 
rivers of the countrey once every yeere. When they are come to 
the river, a great hole is made in the yse. Then beginneth the 
Patriarch to say certaine prayers, and conjureth the divel to come 
out of the water ; and so casting in salt and censing it with frankin- 


cense, maketh the whole river to become holy water. When the 
ceremonies are ended, you shal see the women dippe in their 
children over head and eares, and many men and women leape into 
it, some naked, some with their clothes on, when some man would 
thinke his finger would freese off if he should but dippe it into the 
water.' pp. 103. 104. 

' The Russe, because that he is used to both these extremities of 
heat and of cold, can beare them both a great deal more patiently 
then strangers can doo. You shall see them sometimes (to season 
their bodies) come out of their bathstones all on a froth, and fuming 
as hote almost as a pigge at a spitte, and presently to leape into the 
river starke naked, or to powre colde water all over their bodies, and 
that in the coldest of all the winter time.' p. 113. 

' Bis in anno, semel in die Epiphaniae, iterum ante Beatissimae 
Virginis assumptionem, benedicit Metropolita flumini Moscuae, alii 
vero sacerdotes aliis fluminibus. In eo multi mares foeminaeque 
trina mersione toti immerguntur. Equi item et imagines quasi 
baptizantur . . . Qui mos sive ritus licet non praeceptus sit omnibus, 
plures tamen eum ex religione sic servant ut aegroti quoque, qui sibi 
ea ratione putant ad valetudinem consulere, summo in gelu effossa 
glacie, per foramen in aquam demissi eximantur.' Antonii Possevini 
de rebus Moscovitis, p. 6 a (ed. 1587). 

1. 13. So we see, in languages &c.] Montaigne has the same 
remark in nearly the same words : ' Les nations voisines, oil le langage 
est plus esloigne du nostre, et auquel, si vous ne la formez de bonne 
heure, la langue ne se peut plier.' Essays, bk. i. chap: 25. 

P. 278, 1. 12. the misery is &c.] Bacon seems here to be referring to 
the colleges of the Jesuits. Conf. ' Education which excellent part of 
ancient discipline hath been in some sort revived of late time by the 
colleges of the Jesuits ; of whom, although in regard of their super 
stition I may say, " Quo meliores eo deteriores ; " yet,' &c. Works, 
iii. 277. 

This reflexion on the colleges of the Jesuits is omitted in the 
corresponding later passage in the De Augmentis Scientiarum, 
Works, i. 445. The passage in the Essay shows that the omission 
was not due to any change of opinion on Bacon's part. It is 
translated in the Italian version, being much too enigmatical to 
offend his Catholic readers. 





IT cannot be denied but outward accidents conduce 
much to fortune ; favour, opportunity, death of others, 
occasion fitting virtue : but chiefly the mould of a man's 
fortune is in his own hands : Faber quisque fortunae suae, 
saith the poet ; and the most frequent of external causes 
is that the folly of one man is the fortune of another ; for 
no man prospers so suddenly as by others' errors. Ser- 
pens nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco. Overt and 
apparent a virtues bring forth praise ; but there be secret 
10 and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune ; certain de 
liveries of a man's self b , which have no name. The 
Spanish name, disemboltura c , partly expresseth them ; 
when there be not stonds d nor restiveness in a man's 
nature, but that the wheels of his mind keep way with 

* apparent] i. e. clearly visible. Lat. 
conspicuae. Apparent clear, manifest, 
certain. Bullokar, English Expositor, 
sub voce. Conf. ' A change there is 
apparent and great.' Letters and Life, 
vii. 315. 

' I would not spare my brother in 
this case, 

If he should scorn me so ap 

Comedy of Errors, iv. i. 

b deliveries of a man's self~\ The 
Latin gives facultates nonnullae sese 
expediendi, seemingly limiting' the 
sense to skill in extricating himself 
from troubles. ' Deliveries ' is so used 
elsewhere in the Essays. Conf. 19: 
' This is true ; that the wisdom of all 
these latter times in Princes affairs is 
rather fine deliveries and shiftings of 
dangers and mischiefs when they are 
near, than,' &c. Lat. remedia el sub- 
terfugia malorum et perieulorum. In 
the passage in the text, this sense does 
not well agree with the words which 

follow. The caution that the wheels 
of the mind must keep way with the 
wheels of fortune seems to point to 
something more positive than an art of 
escape from troubles. The word occurs 
in Letters and Life, i. 206, in a sense 
more suited to the text ' he hath one 
of the rarest and most excellent wits 
of England, with a singular delivery and 
application of the same.' We may take 
'deliveries,' therefore, as here = the 
art of using or giving effect in practice 
to a man's qualities and endowments 
in the most complete way of which 
his outward circumstances admit. 

c disemboltura] There is no such 
word. Bacon probably means 'desen- 
voltura,' i. e. easy carriage, grace of 
movement. This is the word substi 
tuted in the Italian version. 

d stands'] i. e. stoppages, impedi 
ments. Conf. ' The removing of the 
stonds and impediments of the mind 
doth often clear the passage and current 
of a man's fortune.' Works, vii. 99. 


the wheels of his fortune; for so Livy (after he had 
described Cato Major in these words, In illo viro, tantum 
robur corporis et animi /nit, ut quocunque loco natus essef, 
fortunam sibi facturus videretur), falleth upon that that he 
had versatile ingenium: therefore, if a man look sharply 
and attentively, he shall see Fortune ; for though she be 
blind, yet she is not invisible. The way of Fortune is 
like the milken way in the sky; which is a meeting or 
knot of a number of small stars, not seen asunder, but 
giving light together : so are there a number of little and 10 
scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, 
that make men fortunate. The Italians note some of 
them, such as a man would little think. When they speak 
of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw in into his 
other conditions, that he hath Poco di matto ; and certainly 
there be not two more fortunate properties than to have 
a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest ; there 
fore extreme lovers of their country or masters were 
never fortunate ; neither can they be ; for when a man 
placeth his thoughts without himself, he goeth not his own 20 
way. An hasty fortune maketh an enterpriser and re 
mover; (the French hath it better, entreprenant or remn 
ant] ; but the exercised e fortune maketh the able man. 
Fortune is to be honoured and respected and it be f but 
for her daughters, Confidence and Reputation ; for those 
two Felicity breedeth ; the first within a man's self, the 
latter in others towards him. All wise men, to decline 
the envy of their own virtues g , use to ascribe them to 

6 exercised} i. e. made use of, turned Mr. Speaker.' Conf. e. g. Letters and 

to account. Lat. exercita. Life, iv. 191. 

1 and it be] i.e. if it be. Conf. 'A man * virtues'] i. e. great qualities of any 

may keep a corner of his mind from kind. ' The envy of their own virtues ' 

his friend, and it be but to witness to must mean here the envy excited not 

himself that,' &c. Essay on Friendship, by the virtues themselves but by their 

in the edition of 1612. Works, vi. 558. achieved results. These and not the 

SoBaconsometimesbeginshisspeeches virtues are what they ' use to ascribe 

in Parliament with, 'And it please you, to Providence and Fortune.' 

284 ' ESSAY XL. 

Providence and Fortune ; for so they may the better 
assume them : and, besides, it is greatness in a man to be 
the care of the higher powers. So Caesar said to the pilot 
in the tempest, Caesarem portas, etfortunam ejus. So Sylla 
chose the name of Felix and not of Magnus: and it hath 
been noted, that those who ascribe openly too much to 
their own wisdom and policy, end infortunate. It is 
written that Timotheus the Athenian, after he had, in the 
account he gave to the state of his government, often 
10 interlaced this speech, and in this Fortune had no part, 
never prospered in anything he undertook afterwards. 
Certainly there be whose fortunes are like Homer's 
verses, that have a slide 11 and easiness more than the 
verses of other poets; as Plutarch saith of Timoleon's 
fortune in respect of that of Agesilaus or Epaminondas : 
and that this should be, no doubt it is much in a man's 


P. 282, 1. 4. in his own hands] Conf. ' Je m'en vais clorre ce pas 
par un verset ancien que je treuve singulierement beau a ce propos ; 
Sui cuique mores fingunt fortunam.' Montaigne, Essays, bk. i. chap. 
42. The quotation is from Nepos, Life of Atticus, cap. n. 

Fabcr quisque fortunae suae, saith the poet] Lat. inquit comicus. 
Conf. Works, iii. 454 : ' This wisdom the Romans did take much 
knowledge of: Nam pol sapiens (saith the comical poet) fingit for 
tunam sibi, and it grew to an adage Faber quisque fortunae suae.' 

The reference here is to Trinummus, ii. sc. 2 : ' Nam sapiens qui- 
dem, pol, ipse fingit fortunam sibi.' It seems clear from the above, 
that Bacon supposed the adage to have had its origin from the 
passage in Plautus. In the Epistolae de Republica Ordinanda 
(attributed doubtfully to Sallust), the authorship is assigned to 
Appius, i. e. to A. Claudius Caecus, a much earlier writer : ' Res 
docuit id verum esse quod in carminibus Appius ait, fabrum esse 
(suae) quemque fortunae.' Ep. i (just at beginning). 

h a slide] i. e a smoothness of move- their business.' (Lat. negotia sua tnol- 
ment. Lat. tnajore cum facilitate fluunt. liusfluere sentient). Essay 14. 
Conf. ' shall have a better slide into 


Bacon says, in his Discourse touching helps for the intellectual 
powers, ' I did ever hold it for an insolent and unlucky saying, Faber 
quisque suae fortunae, except it be altered only as a hortative or spur 
to correct sloth.' Works, vii. 98. He goes on, very much in the 
strain of the Essay, to condemn insolence, with its attendant ill-luck, 
and to prefer attributing much 'to felicity and providence above him.' 

Sir Nicholas Bacon frequently used the adage. ' He would say that 
though he knew unusquisque suae fortunae faber was a good and true 
principle, yet the most in number were those that marred themselves.' 
Sir R. Naunton, Fragmenta Regalia, sub. tit. Sir N. Bacon. Montaigne 
gives another turn to it : ' sapiens . . . pol ipse fingit fortunam sibi. 
Que lui reste il a desirer.' Essays, bk. i. chap. 42. 

1. 7. Serpens nisi &c.] ' Dracones sunt in rerum natura, inquit D. 
Franzius (part 4, Hist. Animal, c. 5.), sed nihil sunt aliud nisi 
serpentes, valde annosi et aucti admodum. Hinc extitit vulgatum 
verbum serpens, nisi serpentem devoraverit, non fit Draco.' Georgi 
Casparis Kirchmajeri, de draconibus volantibus, epistolica dissertatio. 
' Proprie tamen draco dicitur de serpente annoso qui multa aetate in 
inusitatam magnitudinem excrevit, ut liquido apparet ex hoc pro- 
verbio Graeco, o<pis fl pf) <f>dyrj otpiv, dpaKcov ov y j/ij<rerai. Serpens nisi 
ederit serpentem, non fiet draco. Nam inter serpentum genera, 
(inquit Pierius) dracones ii vocantur, qui corpore sunt immaniore, 
vastioreque magnitudine.' Gesner, Hist. Animalium, lib. v. De 
Dracone, sec. A. 

Conf. also Erasmi Adagia, sub titulo Serpens, c : ' *O<f>is * t v p.}] (f>ayy 
o(f)iv, dpoiKmv ov yfvfjaeTai. i. Serpens nisi serpentem edat, non futurus 
est draco. Potentes aliorum damnis crescunt, et optimatum fortunae 
non tantum augerentur, nisi essent quos exsugerent. Quemadmodum 
inter pisces et belluas, majores vivunt laniatu minorum. Quanquam 
mihi quidem et hoc dictum fecem vulgi videtur olere.' This view of 
it does not seem to have suggested itself to Bacon's mind. 

P. 283, 1. i. so Livy] Livy's words are, ' In hoc viro tanta vis animi 
ingeniique fuit, ut, quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam sibi ipse 
facturus fuisse videretur.' He adds presently, after other praises, 
' Huic versatile ingenium sic pariter ad omnia fuit, ut natum ad id 
unum diceres, quodcunque ageret.' Bk. xxxix. cap. 40. 

Montaigne quotes the above passage at length : ' Les plus belles 
ames sont celles qui ont plus de variete et de soupplesse. Voyla un 
honorable tesmoignage du vieux Caton : huic versatile ingenium sic 
pariter ad omnia fuit, ut natum ad id unum diceres, quodcumque 
ageret.' Essays, bk. iii. chap. 3. 

1. 6. though she be blind\ Tix^Xoy ye KOL 8v<rTT)v6v fariv j; rv^rj, 
Menander, Progami, Meineke, Fragmenta Comicorum Graecorum, iv. 
p. 195. 'Non enim solum ipsa fortuna caeca est, sed eos etiam 
plerumque efficit caecos quos amplexa est.' Cic. De Amicitia, xv. 54. 

286 ESSAY XL. 

'Fortunam insanam esse et caecam et brutam perhibent philosophi.' 
Pacuvius, Fragmenta, 160 (Corpus Poet. Latin.). 

Plutarch, in his discourse of Fortune, writes somewhat in Bacon's 
strain : 'We do her wrong in reproaching her for blindnesse, when 
we run upon her as we do, blind, and debasing ourselves unto her : 
for how can we chuse but stumble upon her indeed if we pluck out 
our own eyes, to wit our wisdom and dexterity of counsell, and take 
a blind guide to lead us by the hand in the course of this our life ? ' 
Plutarch, Morals, p. 190. 

I. 15. Poco di matto] Conf. 'Tenez vous dans la route commune : 
il ne faict mie bon estre si subtil et si fin : souvienne vous de ce que 
diet le proverbe toscan Chi troppo s' assottiglia, si scavezza.' Mont 
aigne, Essays, lib. ii. chap. 12. 

P. 284, 1. 3. So Caesar] ' He (Caesar) took ship in the night apparelled 
like a slave. The pinnase lay in the mouth of the river Anius, the 
which commonly was wont to be very calme and quiet. But that 
night, by ill fortune, there came a great wind from the sea, insomuch 
as the force and strength of the river fighting against the violence 
and rage of the waves of the sea, the encounter was marvellous 
dangerous. Thereupon the master of the pinnace seeing he could not 
possibly get out of the mouth of this river, bad the mariners to cast 
about again and to return against the stream. Caesar, hearing that, 
straight discovered himself unto the master of the pinnase, who at 
the first was amazed when he saw him : but Caesar then taking him 
by the hand, said unto him, Good fellow, be of good cheare and for 
wards hardily, feare not, for thou hast Caesar and his fortune with 
thee.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 729. 

1. 4. So Sylla] ' In the end of his triumph, he (Sylla) made an 
oration in open assembly of the people of Rome, in the which he did 
not only declare unto them (according to the custome) what things 
he had done, but did as carefully tell them also as well of his good 
fortune and successe as of his valiant deeds besides : and to conclude 
his oration, told them that by reason of the great favour fortune had 
shewed him, he would from thenceforth be called by them, Felix, to 
say, happy or fortunate.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 486. 

Cardan had noted this : ' Sed et fortunae potius referre decet, 
quam industriae vel virtuti, quae eveniunt bona. Unde Sylla se 
Felicem voluit appellari.' Prudentia Civilis, cap. 107, De invidia 

1. 8. Timotheus] ' One day, when this Timotheus was returned 
from the wars with great victories, after he had openly acquainted 
the Athenians with the whole discourse of his doings in his voyage, 
he sayd unto them : My Lords of Athens, fortune hath had no part 
in all this which I have told unto you. Hereupon the gods it should 
seeme were so angrie with this foolish ambition of Timotheus, that 

OF USURY. 287 

he never afterwards did any worthie thing, but all went utterly 
against the haire with him ; untill at the length he came to be so 
hated of the people that in the end they banished him from Athens.' 
Plutarch, Lives, p. 467. 

The above story is introduced into the Life of Sylla to bring out by 
contrast the different language which Sylla habitually used. 

1. 14. as Plutarch saith\ ' Like as Antimachus' verses and Dionysius' 
painting (both Colophonians) are full of sinewes and strength, and 
yet at this present we see they are things greatly laboured, and 
made with much paine ; and that contrariwise in Nicomachus' tables 
and Homer's verses, besides the passing workmanship and singular 
grace in them, a man findeth at the first sight that they were easily 
made and without great paine. Even so in like manner whosoever 
will compare the painfull bloudie warres and battels of Epaminondas 
and Agesilaus with the wars of Timoleon, in the which besides 
equitie and justice there is also great ease and quietnesse : he shall 
find, weighing things indifferently, that they have not bene fortune's 
doings simply, but that they came of a most noble and fortunate 
courage. Yet he himself doth wisely impute it unto his good hap and 
favorable fortune.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 282. 


MANY have made witty invectives against usury. They 
say that it is pity the devil should have God's part, which 
is the tithe a , that the usurer is the greatest Sabbath-breaker, 
because his plough goeth every Sunday; that the usurer 
is the drone that Virgil speaketh of: 

Ignavum fucos pecus a praesepibus arcent ; 

that the usurer breaketh the first law that was made for 
mankind after the fall, which was, in sudore vultus tui 
comedes panem tumn ; not, in sudore vultus alieni ; that 
usurers should have orange-tawny bonnets, because they 10 

* the tithe] i. e. 10 per cent. the rate of interest allowed by 37 Henry 
VIII. cap. 9. 


do Judaize ; that it is against nature for money to beget 
money, and the like. I say this only, that usury is a con- 
cessum propter duritiem cordis: for since there must be 
borrowing and lending, and men are so hard of heart as 
they will not lend freely, usury must be permitted. Some 
others have made suspicious and cunning propositions of 
banks b , discovery of men's estates , and other inventions; 
but few have spoken of usury usefully. It is good to set 
before us the incommodities and commodities of usury, 

10 that the good may be either weighed out or culled out ; 
and warily to provide that, while we make forth to that 
which is better d , we meet not with that which is worse. 

The discommodities of usury are, first, that it makes 
fewer merchants ; for were it not for this lazy trade of 
usury, money would not lie still but would in great part be 
employed upon merchandising, which is the vena porta e of 
wealth in a state : the second, that it makes poor merchants; 
for as a farmer cannot husband his ground f so well if he 
sit at a great rent, so the merchant cannot drive his trade 

20 so well if he sit at great usury : the third is incident to 
the other two ; and that is, the decay of customs of kings 
or states, which ebb or flow with merchandising: the 
fourth, that it bringeth the treasure of a realm or state 
into a few hands ; for the usurer being at certainties, and 

b banks] Bank is seemingly here = lating usury. Lat. ne dum foenore 

mont de piete. Conf. ' A bill for the feramur in melius, inter cipiamur et in- 

establishment of seven banks, to be ddatnus in pejus. The wary provision 

known by the name of " Banks for the here referred to seems to be the same 

relief of common necessity," and to as 'the bridge or passage from the 

lend money on pledges or pawns at the practice to the reformation,' in Bacon's 

rate of 6 per cent.' Calendar of State paper on Usury, viz. an order to the 

Papers. Domestic. 1571, April 21. Courts of Equity to forbid those who 

c discovery of men's estates] i. e. en- had lent money at the higher rate from 

quiries for ascertaining exactly what calling it in as soon as the rate was 

men are worth, and for tracing out reduced. Vide Letters and Life, vii. 

what they do with their money. Lat. 419, and conf. note on p. 294. 

detectione fortunarum hominum singu- e vena porta] Vide note on Essay 19, 

lorum. p. 143. 

d while we make forth &c.] i.e. while l cannot husband &c.] Lat. terrain 

we try to improve matters by regu- colere itafructuose nequit. 

OF USURY. 289 

others at uncertainties, at the end of the game most of the 
money will be in the box ; and ever a state flourisheth 
when wealth is more equally spread : the fifth, that it 
beats down the price of land; for the employment of 
money is chiefly either merchandising or purchasing, and 
usury waylays both : the sixth, that it doth dull and damp 
all industries, improvements, and new inventions, wherein 
money would be stirring if it were not for this slug g : 
the last, that it is the canker and ruin of many men's 
estates, which in process of time breeds a public poverty. 10 

On the other side, the commodities of usury are, first, 
that howsoever usury in some respect hindereth mer 
chandising, yet in some other it advanceth it ; for it is 
certain that the greatest part of trade is driven by young 
merchants upon borrowing at interest ; so as if the usurer 
either call in or keep back his money, there will ensue 
presently a great stand of trade : the second is, that were 
it not for this easy borrowing upon interest, men's ne 
cessities would draw upon them a most sudden undoing, 
in that they would be forced to sell their means (be it ao 
lands or goods), far under foot h ; and so, whereas usury 
doth but gnaw upon them, bad markets would swallow 
them quite up. As for mortgaging or pawning, it will little 
mend the matter: for either men will not take pawns 
without use 1 , or if they do, they will look precisely for 

* for this slug] Lat. nisi a torpedine l will not take pawns without use] 

ista impediretur. Conf. ' Nay, they are i. e. will not take securities in pledge 

indeed but remoras and hindrances to (and lend money upon them) without 

stay and slug the ship from further exacting interest. Lat. ea prorsus non 

sailing.' Works, iii. 358. acripient homines sine foenore. For 

h far under foot] i. e. far below their pawns, conf. ' Do you hear, Sir ? we 
real value. Lat. nimis vili pretio. Conf. have no store of money at this time, 
' Such commodities are bought at ex- but you shall have good pawns : look 
treme high rates, and sold again far you, Sir, this jewel, and that gentle- 
under foot to a double loss.' Letters man's silk stockings.' Every Man in 
and Life, vii. 420. And, ' When men his Humour, act iv. sc. 9. For use = 
did let their land under foot, the usury or interest, conf. in Calendar of 
tenants would fight for their landlords, State Papers, Dec. 1602, an objection 
so that way they had their retribution.' made by the inhabitants of Hereford to 
Selden, Table Talk, sub tit. Land. the appointment of Dr. Bennet as 



the forfeiture. I remember a cruel moneyed man in the 
country that would say, The devil take this usury, it 
keeps us from forfeitures of mortgages and bonds. The 
third and last is, that it is a vanity to conceive that there 
would be ordinary borrowing without profit ; and it is im 
possible to conceive the number of inconveniences that 
will ensue, if borrowing be cramped : therefore to speak of 
the abolishing of usury is idle ; all states have ever had 
it in one kind or rate or other ; so as that opinion must 

10 be sent to Utopia. 

To speak now of the reformation and reglement of usury, 
how the discommodities of it may be best avoided and the 
commodities retained. It appears, by the balance of com 
modities and discommodities of usury, two things are to 
be reconciled ; the one that the tooth of usury be grinded 
that it bite not too much ; the other that there be left open 
a means to invite moneyed men to lend to the merchants, 
for the continuing and quickening of trade. This cannot 
be done except you introduce two several sorts k of usury, 

20 a less and a greater ; for if you reduce usury to one low 
rate, it will ease the common borrower, but the merchant 
will be to seek for 1 money : and it is to be noted that the 
trade of merchandise being the most lucrative, may bear 
usury at a good rate : other contracts not so. 

Bishop of Hereford on the ground, faculties several and to be distin- 

inter alia, that ' He lets his money to guished,' and note on passage, 

use, which though tolerated in laymen l will be to seek for] i. e. will be at a 

is scandalous in one of his calling.' loss for. Lat. pecumas non facile reperiet. 

Dr. Bennet's reply is, ' I never let Conf. ' Men bred in learning are per- 

money to usury, which I detest.' haps to seek in points of convenience 

And, ' And let me tell you, this kind of and accommodating for the present.' 

fishing with a dead rod and laying Works, iii. 271. 

night hooks, are like putting money to ' For finding himself (thanks be to 
use, for they both work for the owners, God) to seek, in her majesty's govern- 
when they do nothing but sleep or eat ment, of any just pretext in matter of 
or rejoice.' Walton and Cotton's Com- state ... he was forced to descend to 
plete Angler, part i, cap. 5. the pretext of a private quarrel.' Let- 

k two several sorts'] i. e. two distinct ters and Life, ii. 267. 
sorts. Conf. Essay 6, ' Habits and 

OF USURY. 291 

To serve both intentions, the way would be briefly thus : 
that there be two rates of usury ; the one free and general 
for all; the other under licence only to certain persons, 
and in certain places of merchandising. First therefore, 
let usury in general be reduced to five in the hundred, 
and let that rate be proclaimed to be free and current ; 
and let the state shut itself out to take any penalty for the 
same ; this will preserve borrowing from any general stop 
or dryness ; this will ease infinite borrowers in the country; 
this will in good part raise the price of land, because 10 
land purchased at sixteen years' purchase will yield six 
in the hundred and somewhat more, whereas this rate 
of interest yields but five ; this by like reason will en 
courage and edge industrious and profitable improvements, 
because many will rather venture in that kind than take 
five in the hundred, especially having been used to greater 
profit. Secondly, let there be certain persons licensed 
to lend to known merchants upon usury at a higher rate, 
and let it be with the cautions following : let the rate be, 
even with the merchant himself, somewhat more easy 20 
than that he used formerly to pay ; for by that means all 
borrowers shall have some ease by this reformation, be he 
merchant or whosoever; let it be no bank or common 
stock, but every man be master of his own money ; not 
that I altogether mislike banks, but they will hardly be 
brooked in regard of certain suspicions. Let the state 
be answered 11 some small matter for the license, and the 
rest left to the lender ; for if the abatement be but small, 
it will no whit discourage the lender ; for he for example 

m to take] i. e. from taking. Lat. Naples, well answered during the time 

tnulctae omni renunciet. of her uncle Frederick, . . . but since 

n be answered] i. e. be paid. Lat. the time that the kingdom was in Fer- 

exiguam aliquant summam percipiat. dinando's hands, all was assigned to 

Conf. ' But in this match he was soon the army and garrisons there ; and she 

cooled, when he heard from his am- received only a pension or exhibition 

bassadors that this young Queen had out of his coffers.' History of King 

had a goodly jointure in the realm of Henry VII, Works, vi. 227-8. 

U 2 


that took before ten or nine in the hundred, will sooner 
descend to eight in the hundred than give over his trade 
of usury, and go from certain gains to gains of hazard. 
Let these licensed lenders be in number indefinite, but 
restrained to certain principal cities and towns of mer 
chandising; for then they will be hardly able to colour 
other men's moneys in the country: so as the licence of 
nine will not suck away the current rate of five ; for no 
man will send his moneys far off, nor put them into 
i unknown hands. 

If it be objected that this doth in a sort authorize usury, 
which before was in some places but permissive; the 
answer is, that it is better to mitigate usury by declaration 
than to suffer it to rage by connivance. 


The Essay of Usury, first published in the edition of 1625, 
is identical in the main with an earlier paper on 'Usury and the 
Use thereof sent by Bacon to Sir Edward Conway, to be shown 
to the King, April 2, 1623. Letters and Life vii. 414 &c. At 
the time when this paper was written, the practice of usury 
! /was regulated by the revived statute of 37 Henry VIII, cap. 9, fixing 
10 per cent, as the maximum rate of lawful interest. This statute 
had been repealed by 5 & 6 Edward VI, cap. 20, declaring that 
' usury is by the word of God utterly prohibited as a vice most 
odious and detestable,' and enacting accordingly that 'no person 
shall lend or forbear any sum of money for any manner of usury 
or increase to be received or hoped for above the sum lent.' But 
this was in turn repealed by 13 Elizabeth, cap. 8, and the former 
statute was revived, the reason alleged being that the statute of 
Edward VI ' has not done so much good as it was hoped it should, 
but rather the said vice of usury &c. hath much more exceedingly 
abounded, to the utter undoing of many gentlemen, merchants, 
occupiers and others.' Usury, however, was still declared to be 

to colour other men's moneys} i.e. to forbidding privileged natives to allow 

lend other men's money under pre foreigners to import goods under their 

tence that it is their own. Lat. oppor- names, so as to escape customs' duties, 

tunitatem non habebunt pecunias ali- headed ' An Act concerning colouring 

orum pro suis commodandi. Conf. 2 of customs in other men's names, to 

and 3 Edward VI, cap. xxii, an Act the deceit of the King.' 

OF USURY. 293 

a sinful and detestable thing, and the sum usuriously received was 
made liable to forfeiture to the crown a penalty not consistent with 
the enabling clauses of the statute, and not enforced in practice. By 
39 Elizabeth, cap. 18, the statute of 13 Elizabeth is said to be ' by 
proof and experience found to be very necessary and profitable' 
and it is accordingly made perpetual. 

But between the date of Bacon's first papers on usury, and that 
of his Essay, there had been further legislation on the subject. By 
21 James, cap. 17, the permissible rate of interest was reduced from 
10 to 8 per cent. The preamble declares that ' there is a very great 
abatement in the value of land, and other the merchandize, wares, 
and commodities of this kingdom t . . at home and in foreign 
parts,' and that consequently gentry, merchants, farmers and trades 
men, who have contracted debts at the old rate, cannot now pay 
their debts. The effect of this statute was to bring the legal rate 
of interest into conformity with the current rate, there being, as 
Thomas Mun, writing at about this date, says ' plenty of men ready 
to lend more than merchants wish to borrow ' (England's Treasure 
by Foreign Trade, cap. 15). This was the state of things when 
Bacon's elaborate scheme was given to the world. It is clear, from 
both his treatises, and from other passages in his works, that he 
looked with disapproval on usury, i. e. on receiving any interest for 
a loan. As the world went, it must be suffered, but it was at best 
a concession propter duritiem cordis, a thing to be tolerated and to 
be condemned. He remarks, e. g. in the Essay of Riches, that 
' usury is the certainest means of gain though one of the worst.' 
In his Life of Henry VII (Works, vi. 87), he says, ' there were also 
made good and politic laws that Parliament against usury, which is " 
the bastard use of money.' The law referred to 3 Henry VI I, cap. 6 
declares that ' all unlawful chevisance and usury shall be extirpate ; 
all brokers of such bargains shall be set in the pillory, put to open 
shame, be half a year imprisoned, and pay twenty pounds.' This, 
then, was the course of which Bacon in his heart approved, but / 
facts were too hard for him, and he found himself driven to a com- " 
promise with the unclean thing. He proposes accordingly to speak 
usefully about it; and this he does by setting out first its incom- 
modities, and then its commodities. He gives both these contradictory 
lists not as containing the opinions of other people, but as containing 
his own opinions, and when he proceeds to speak of the Reformation 
and Reglement of Usury, he treats both lists as to be taken equally 
into account. The middle course the establishment of two rates 
of usury by which he attempts to reconcile the two sets of con 
tradictory propositions which he has laid down as alike true, does 
not appear to have carried conviction to the King's mind or to have 
been put in practice at any time. The details in the early paper, 


omitted in the Essay, explain more fully how the scheme was 
intended to work. If a lender attempted to call in his money, 
through dissatisfaction at the lower rate to which Bacon proposed 
to limit him, the Courts of Equity were to be warranted and required 
to interpose and to give the debtors a favourable and convenient day 
for repaying the loans which were, meanwhile, to stand at the new 
rates. That the author of this scheme belonged to the debtor and 
not to the creditor class appears distinctly enough. 

There are one or two other minor diiferences worth noting between 
the paper and the Essay. We read at the end of the first section 
of the Essay, ' and warily to provide that while we make forth to 
that which is better, we meet not with that which is worse.' The 
sense of these words is not clear. They seem to point to a scheme 
to which no distinct after reference is made. The corresponding 
passage in the earlier paper runs thus : ' And withal it is fit to see 

/ how we can make a bridge from the present practice to the re 
formation ; lest, while we make forth towards that which is better, 
we meet with that which is worse.' The ' bridge ' is clearly the 
suggested order to the Courts of Equity to forbid lenders from 
calling in their money, until a day came at which it was convenient 
to their debtors to repay it ; and of this, as we have said, there is 
no mention made in the Essay. 

Again, in the paper, Bacon lays down a caution : ' Let there be no 
bank or common stock, but every man be master of his own money : 
not that I dislike banks, but they will not be brooked in regard of 
certain suspicions.' The Essay changes the definite statement that 
Bacon, in spite of his prohibition of banks, does not dislike them, into 
the indefinite ' not that I altogether mislike banks,' implying that 

1 Bacon shared the ' certain suspicions ' to some extent which he leaves 
unstated and unexplained. The banking system was on its trial in 
Bacon's day, and he accordingly passes sentence upon it in terms 
so guarded that his credit would be safe, whatever the event might 
prove to be. The probable ground for his suspicions or half-mislikes 
will be seen in Gerard Malynes' Lex Mercatoria, published in 1622. 
In Part iii. cap. 9 Malynes describes what he terms the feats of 
bankers, the absolute power which they possess of fixing the rate of 
exchange, and the mysterious arts by which they conjure money 
out of one country into another, to their own profit and to the injury 
of all besides. 

Suspicions of this kind were shared by statesmen of Bacon's time 
as well as by Bacon himself. We find continual alarms about money 
leaving the country and continual attempts by statute and otherwise 
to prevent or check the efflux. These attempts Bacon unquestionably 
approved. Conf. e.g. Letters and Life, vi. 374 and 449-50. Mr. 
Spedding, his ready and well-proved apologist, makes much of the 

OF USURY. 295 

fact that he had got so far as to allow that usury must be permitted. 
(Letters and Life, vii. 414.) But the legislature, as we have seen, had 
got thus far half a century earlier. It may perhaps be thought that 
Essays which are intended to ' last as long as books last ' ought at 
least to come up to and to contain the most advanced ideas of the 
age at which they were written. This, however, the Essay on Usury 
certainly does not. It was given to the world at about the time at 
which Mun's book on England's Treasure by Foreign Trade was 
written, and a comparison of the two performances is entirely in 
Mun's favour. What Bacon pretends to do, Mun actually does. He 
' culls out ' the good of Usury, not by assuming the equal truth of 
a series of contradictory propositions and gravely balancing them 
against each other. His more effective method is to sweep away the 
nonsense as nonsensical, and to lay down the truth as true, In 
cap. 15 he shows conclusively that usury so called is not hurtful to 
trade, the fact being that the trader's profits and the rates which the 
usurer can obtain, rise and fall together, and that usury is a help 
to traders. He sees as Bacon does that, in a certain sense, usury 
makes fewer merchants, or, as he puts it, that some men when they 
are grown rich give over trading and put out their money to use, 
but he does not infer from this that the money ' lies still.' It is, he 
says, ' still traded ' in the hand, of course, of the trader to whom it 
has been lent (cap. 15). ' Not that I altogether mislike banks,' says 
Bacon. Mun does not mislike them at all, and he states clearly 
(cap. 14) what he thinks about them and why. Mun has been so 
generally and so unjustly condemned as the author of the Mercantile 
System of Political Economy, that I have the more pleasure in giving 
instances of the sound good sense which his book actually contains. 
Of the principle of the ' Mercantile System ' he does speak with 
approval, but it is only a small part of his book which is tainted with 
it, and he keeps wholly clear of much deduced nonsense which is 
to be found elsewhere in the theory and practice of his day. 

P. 287, 1. i. Many have made&c.] Several of these witty invectives 
are endorsed by Bacon in Essay 34, Of Riches. 

1. 5. Virgil\ Georg. iv. 168. 

1. 8. in sudore] Genesis iii. 19. 

1. 10. orange-tawny bonnets] The Jews in Europe during the 
middle ages were usually compelled to wear a distinguishing dress. 
This was commonly of yellow : it was sometimes a yellow cap, 
sometimes a yellow badge on the breast. Ducange, Glossarium, sub 
voce Judaei, quotes from the Statuta Massiliensia : ' Statuimus quod 
omnes Judaei, a septem annis supra, portent Calotam (i.e. une 
calotte) croceam ; vel, si noluerint, portent in pectore unam rotam 
latam et magnam ad modum palmae hominis.' In the Latin text of 
the Statute, as given in the Histoire des actes c. de la municipality 


de Marseille, par L. Mery et F. Guidin (8 vols. 8vo. Marseille et Aix, 
1842-1873), there is no mention of the yellow cap, but it appears in 
the editors' French translation or abridgement : ' Des 1'age de sept 
ans les juifs devraient porter une calotte jaune (CROCEA, safranee) 
ou a defaut une marque sur la poitrine.' Tome iv. pp. 167 and 227. 
The statutes given in this history date mainly from 1257, soon after 
the submission of Marseilles to Charles of Anjou, but they contain 
the substance of much earlier municipal legislation. I am indebted 
to the late Principal of Brasenose College for the reference to the 
Histoire des Actes. 

Ducange, sub voce, gives numerous other instances to a like effect, 
and probably of about the same date. We find, e. g. an ordinance 
of St. Louis (1269) that Jews of both sexes were to wear 'unam 
rotam de feutro seu panno croceo in superiori veste consutam ante 
pectus.' In the council of Vienna (1267) by canon 15, ' Pileum cor- 
nutum deferre jubentur.' 

In England a like order was made in Edward the First's reign : 
' E "6 (i. e. ke, que) checun Geu pus kil avra passee set anz, porte 
enseine en son soverain garnement, cest assav r en forme de deus 
tables joyntes de feutre jaune.' Vide Les Estatutz de la Jeuerie, as 
printed in the Statutes of the Realm, vol. i. p. 221 a (fol. ed. of 1810). 
Edward, in a subsequent order, gives directions for the carrying out 
of this statute : ' Cum nuper . . . provideri fecerimus quod universi 
et singuli Judaei &c. &c. . . et quod unusquisque ipsorum, postquam 
aetatem septem annorum compleverit, in superiori vestimento suo 
quoddam signum deferat ad modum duarum tabularum de feltro 
croceo,' c. Rymer, Foedera (ed. 1816), torn. i. pars ii. p. 543, in 
Ann. Dom. 1277. 

The date and reign of this statute have been set down as uncertain* 
They seem, however, to be fixed approximately by the passage 
quoted from Rymer, and exactly by Matthew of Westminster, 
Chron. in ann. 1275. 

Conf. also ' Gli Hebrei . . . nella Soria, . . . vestono alia Soriana, 
un' habito conforme in tutto a quello de' Turchi : se non che portano 
in capo un dulipante (?) di velo, al quanto giallo, come anchora fanno 
gli Hebrei Levantini, che sono in Venetia, dove si trova anchora un 
altro grosso numero . . . d' Hebrei. Questi . . . nel vestire si conformaho 
col popolo di Venetia ed imitano gli altri Mercanti ed Artegiani di 
questa Citta . . . Ma nondimeno, accioche sieno conosciuti da gli 
altri, portano per comandamento publico la berretta gialla' &c. 
Vecellio, Degli habiti antichi et moderni (ed. 1590), p. 464. 

P. 288, 1. I. it is against nature] Conf. EuXoycbrara /ucmrat fj o/3oXoora- 
TIKT) (xprjp.aTi<TTiKr)) dia TO an' avrov TOV vop.ltTfj.aTos elvai rrjv KT^ITIV /cat OVK 
f(p' OKtp firopiffOr), Mera/SoXjjs yap iytttro X^P lv > $f TOKOS OVTO noifi irXeov. 
Kal Tovvop.a TOVT' fl\ij<pfv' op.oia yap TO TiKTopeva TOIS yevvaxrtv aiird 

OF USURY. 297 

fcrTiv, 6 tie TO/CO? yiverai vofiicr^a vo/oit'cr/xnTOS* wore Kal /uaXiora TTapa 
OVTOS ro>i> xprjuaTia-fjLtov e'ortV. Arist. Pol. i. 10. 4,5. 'He puts his 
money to the unnatural act of generation, and his scrivener is the 
supervisor bawd to it.' Overbury, Characters. A devilish usurer. 

'When did friendship take 
A breed of barren metal of his friend.' 

Merchant of Venice, act i. sc. 3. 

1. 15. money would not lie still} The assumption here is that 
money lent 'lies still' in the borrower's hands, since the original 
owner and lender is not himself employing it directly upon mer 

P. 289, 1. 1. at the end of the game &c.] There is a var. lee. here gaine 
for game either from an error of the press, or from an indistinctness 
of the manuscript. The Latin gives eveniet in fine ludi, prout fit saepe 
in alea, ut maxima pars pecuniae promo cedat. The usurer is thus 
compared to the player who keeps the bank at a game of hazard, and 
who commonly has the chances very much in his favour. 

P. 290, 1. 10. to Utopia] This is probably a reference to Sir Thomas 
More's Utopia, an imaginary country in which' there could be no 
usury, since there was no private property. ' For what justice is 
this, that a ryche goldesmythe, or an usurer . , . should have a 
pleasaunt and a welthie living, either by idlenes or by unnecessary 
busines.' Utopia, bk. ii. cap. 9 (Robynson's Trans.). There is a like 
reference in Ralegh, who says of the Lacedaemonians : ' Briefly 
they lived Utopian-like.' Hist, of the World, iii. chap. 8. sec. i. 

P. 291, 1. 5. be reduced to five in the hundred] The proposed change 
would have been to Bacon's advantage as a debtor. In an account 
of his payments, in 1618, we find : ' Paid Mr. Hallett for the interest 
of zoolb. for 6 months 5lb. and to his man ios., in all 5/. los. od.' ' Paid 
Mr. Hill, the Scrivener, for the interest of 2oolb. for six months, to 
the use of Mr. Henry Goldsmith and for the forbearance n/. os. od.' 
Several other entries follow, some for large sums, all showing that 
10 per cent, was the minimum rate at which Bacon's debts had been 
incurred. Letters and Life, vi. p. 332 et seqq. 

1. 10. raise the price of land} Land, in the first quarter of the 
I7th century, was to be had at less than the sixteen years' purchase 
to which Bacon proposes to raise it. Conf. 'Corn and cattle were 
never at so low a rate since I can remember : wheat at 25. a bushel, 
barley at 75. a quarter, et sic de caeteris. ... So that land falls every 
where, and if you have money, you may buy good land at thirteen 
or fourteen years' purchase.' Chamberlain to Carleton, Nov. 9, 1620. 

Bacon's remedy for this is not approved by his clear-sighted 
contemporary, Mun. There is only one way, Mun says, by which 
the improvement can be brought about. When the produce of land 
commands higher prices, the land will bear a higher rent and its 


value will, of course, rise.' England's Treasure by Foreign Trade, 
cap. 5. 

1. 23. no bank\. 

1. 26. certain suspicions]. 

The word bank is used in so many senses, the business of banking 
was so mixed up with other forms of business, and Bacon's language 
is so vague and uncertain that we cannot be sure what suspicions he 
is referring to. Probably they are those expressed by Gerard 
Malynes in his ' Lex Mercatoria ' (1622). Part i. cap. 20 is a long 
attack on Banks and Bankers. Malynes describes how Bankers 
have large sums of other people's money deposited with them, and 
how they contrive to retain it and to use it, making in effect merely 
fictitious repayments by book transfers : ' So that they once being 
possessed of moneys, they will hardly be dispossessed, and their 
paiements are in effect all by assignation and imaginarie.' Thus 
furnished, they command the money market, lend at exorbitant 
interest, ' engross divers commodities, and carry a predominance in 
ruling the course of exchanges for all places where it pleaseth 

In part iii. cap. 9 he describes more fully and fancifully the 'feats 
of Bankers ' performed by exchanges, ' some for the Banker's private 
gain and benefit ; ' others ' for the advancing of one commonwealth 
above all other commonweales ; ' and lastly 'for the destruction of 
a commonwealth.' 

Also in part i. cap. 20 Malynes mentions that banks in Spain had 
been unable to meet their engagements, and had been allowed under 
Philip II to defer payments. Hence banks had fallen into disrepute 
in Spain. 

Mun's book, cap. 14, is a reply to this stuff. Mun defends bankers. 
They are, he allows, always ready to receive such sums of money as 
are put into their hands. ' It is likewise true,' he adds, ' that the 
Bankers do repay all men with their own, and yet reserve good 
gain to themselves, which they do as well deserve ... as those 
Factors do which buy or sell for Merchants by Commission. And 
is not this likewise both just and very common ? ' 

It thus appears that, in the first quarter of the i7th century, the 
functions of the banker were in the main such as they are now. 

For another sense of bank = mont de piete, v. s. note on p. 288. 
The term is used also as = a hoard of money. John Blount, e. g., 
writing to secretary Cecil, mentions a report that Cecil had ap 
pointed a late merchant's factor to keep a bank for him in Italy, 
fearing to have so much money in England. State Papers, Domestic 
Series, March 27, 1602. And, ' These little sands and grains of gold 
and silver (as it seemeth) holp not a little to make up the great heap 
and bank.' Works, vi. 220. 



A MAN that is young in years may be old in hours, if he 
have lost no time ; but that happeneth rarely. Generally, 
youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second : 
for there is a youth in thoughts as well as in ages ; and yet 
the invention of young men is more lively than that of 
old, and imaginations stream into their minds better, and 
as it were more divinely. Natures that have much heat, 
and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not 
ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their 
years : as it was with Julius Caesar and Septimius Severus; 10 
of the latter of whom it is said, Juventutem egit erroribus, 
imo furoribus plenam ; and yet he was the ablest emperor, 
almost, of all the list ; but reposed natures may do well 
in youth, as it is seen in Augustus Caesar, Cosmus duke 
of Florence, Gaston de Foix, and others. On the other 
side, heat and vivacity in age is an excellent composition 
for business. Young men are fitter to invent than to 
judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter 
for new projects than for settled business; for the ex 
perience of age a , in things that fall within the compass of 20 
it, directeth them ; but in new things abuseth b them. The 
errors of young men are the ruin of business ; but the 
errors of aged men amount but to this, that more might 
have been done or sooner. 

Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, em 
brace more than they can hold ; stir more than they can 
quiet ; fly to the end without consideration of the means 

* of age] i.e. of old men, as the coming (prima petitionis oblatio) had 

words which follow require. Lat. been written in the previous clause. 

senutn. For the looseness of the b abuseth~] i. e. deceives or misleads, 

grammar, conf. ' In suits of favour, the Lat. eosseducit. Conf. ' It was certified 

first coming ought to take little place.' unto me that it was his own desire to 

Essay 49. Where the sentence con- resign : wherein if I was abused, I will 

tinues as if first comer and not first restore him.' Letters and Life, vi. 292. 


and degrees ; pursue some few principles which they have 
chanced upon absurdly ; care not to innovate d , which draws 
unknown inconveniences ; use extreme remedies at first ; 
and, that which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge 
or retract them, like an unready horse 6 , that will neither 
stop nor turn. Men of age object too much, consult too 
long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom 
drive business home to the full period, but content them 
selves with a mediocrity of success. Certainly it is good 

10 to compound employments of both ; for that will be good 
for the present, because the virtues of either age may 
correct the defects of both ; and good for succession, that 
young men may be learners while men in age are actors ; 
and lastly, good for externe accidents, because authority 
followeth old men, and favour and popularity youth : but 
for the moral part, perhaps youth will have the pre 
eminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin, 
upon the text, Your young men shall see visions, and your 
old men shall dream dreams, inferreth that young men are 

2c admitted nearer to God than old, because vision is a 
clearer revelation than a dream ; and certainly, the more 
a man drinketh of the world the more it intoxicateth : and 
age doth profit f rather in the powers of understanding 
than in the virtues of the will and affections. There be 
some have an over-early ripeness in their years, which 
fadeth betimes : these are, first, such as have brittle wits, 
the edge whereof is soon turned : such as was Hermo- 
genes the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtile, 

c absurdly] This adverb qualifies d care not to innovate, &c.] This 

the earlier verb ' pursue.' Lat. prae- clause is omitted in the Latin. It 

cepta quaedam absurde persequuntur, in must mean are given to innovating 

quae casu inciderunt. The French carelessly, a habit which, &c. 

gives lesquels Us ont d f adventure ab- e like an unready horse} Lat. similes 

surdement rencontre a mistake due to equis male domitis. 

the order of the words in the text f doth profit} i. e. doth gain or make 

rather than to any fault on the trans- progress. Lat. proficit. 
lator's part. 


who afterwards waxed stupid : a second sort is of those 
that have some natural dispositions which have better 
grace in youth than in age ; such as is a fluent and 
luxuriant speech, which becomes youth well but not age : 
so Tully saith of Hortensius, Idem manebat, neque idem 
decebat: the third is of such as take too high a strain at the 
first, and are magnanimous more than tract of years g can 
uphold ; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith 
in effect, Ultima primis cedebant. 


P. 299. Youth and Age] In the Historia Vitae et Mortis 
(published 1623), Bacon sums up somewhat more favourably to 
youth, bringing out more fully the better moral qualities of young 
men, and giving less prominence to the improved judgment and 
intellectual capacity of the old. Works, ii. 212. 

1. 10. Septimius Severus] The words are 'Juventam plenam 
furorum, nonnunquam et criminum habuit.' Spartianus, Life of 
Severus, cap. ii. But the general testimony of Spartianus as to the 
conduct of Severus in youth is to the contrary effect. It was in the 
later career of Severus rather than in his youth that he gave proof 
of a disordered mind. Cap. xii. 

1. 14. Cosmus] or Cosimo, of the younger branch of the Medici, 
was appointed Duke of Florence in 1537, at the age of seventeen, on 
the failure of the elder branch of the family after the murder of the 
previous Duke Alessandro. During a long tenure of office, he ad 
ministered the affairs of Florence with marked ability and success. 

1. 15. Gaston de Foix] Bacon probably refers to Gaston III, 
Count de Foix, and Viscount de Beam. He was born in 1331, and 
at the age of fourteen served with distinction in military and then in 
civil business. Froissart, who knew him in his later life, describes 
him as a pattern of chivalry. Chron. vol. ii. caps. 26 and 80 (Berner's 

g tract of years] i. e. length of years. iv. chap. 14. sec. i. 'Then Fabius 

The Latin gives, more clearly, aetas did straight set forth unto Han- 

provectior. Conf. 'The wisdom which nibal, not as minded to fight with 

is learned by tract of time findeth the him, but fully resolved to wear 

laws, that have been in former ages out his strength and power by delays 

established, needful in later to be and tract of time,' Plutarch, Lives, 

abrogated.' Hooker, Eccl. Pol. Bk. p. 181. 


Another Gaston de Foix, Duke de Nemours, a nephew of Lewis 
XII of France, may equally be described as having ' done well in 
youth,' though hardly as of ' a reposed nature.' He commanded the 
French troops in Italy, and was killed at the battle of Ravenna in 
1512. ' En peu de temps il fut faict capitaine general devant que 
d'avoir quasi faict 1'apprentissage de soldat. . . . Bref sembloit estre 
une chose non jamais veue ny ouye que en si grande jeunesse, qui 
n'estoit que de vingtquatre ans ou environ, il eut execute de si haults 
faicts d'armes.' Thevet, Vie des hommes illustres, vol. ii. p. 322 B 
(Paris, 1584). 

Bayle speaks of him as ' Ce foudre de guerre, qui auroit aparem- 
ment surpasse les deux Scipions s'il avoit vecu autant qu'eux.' Diet. 
Hist, et Crit. p. 1777 (3rd edition). Vide also Guicciardini, Storia 
d' Italia, vol. v. 306, 307. 

1. 18. fitter for execution c.] Conf. ' To speak truly, youth is made 
(as it were) to follow and obey, but age to guide and command : and 
that City or State is preserved, wherein the sage counsels of the 
Elders, and the martiall prowesse of the younger, beare sway 
together.' Plutarch, Morals, p. 322. 

Gaisford, in the Paroemiographi Graeci (e Cod. Bodleiano, 690), 
gives the proverb Neoi? \*.tv fpya, /3ouXas Se yepairepoir, and adds in a 
note (inter alia) the well-known line ascribed to Hesiod : "Epya v(o>i>, 

/SouXm 8e i*.f(T(i>v, fi^at 5e yepovrtav. 

P. 300, 1. 9. Certainly it is good &c.] This is Plutarch's advice. 
Vide Morals, p. 323. Bacon presses it in his letter of advice to Sir 
George Villiers ; Letters and Life, vi. p. 40. 

1. 17. A certain rabbin] This is Abravanel. His words are : 
' Then because prophecy consists of two degrees, a prophetic dream 
and a prophetic vision (as it is said in the Law, I, the Lord, will 
make myself known unto him in a vision and will speak unto him 
in a dream), in accordance with this it is here said, the old men shall 
be deemed worthy to dream dreams and the young men to see 
visions ; because the strength of the old men is diminished, their 
sight is dim, therefore they shall dream ; and the young men, 
because they are full of vigour and their powers of sight stronger, 
therefore they shall see visions.' Vide Abravanel, on the later 
prophets (1520) ; Joel ii. 28 in the Authorized version ; iii. i in 
Abravanel's Hebrew Text. 

I am indebted to Dr. Ginsburg for this note. 

1. 27. Hermogenes\ 'Ep/xoyei/jjs 8e, bv Tapo-oi rjvfyKav, irevTfKatSfKa 
fTT) yeyovas, e'<p' otJrco pcya npovftrj rfjs tatv (ro<pi<rrS>v 86r)g cos Kal MdpK<a 
/SacriXei Trapao\t1v epeora d/cpodcrecor. . . . 'Er de av8pas TJKOV, dtpypedr) T^V fiv 
vir' ov8fp.ias (pavtpas vovov. odev doretoyioO \6yov 7rape'8a>Ke rols ftatrKavois. 
f(f)a(rav yap TOVS Xo'yous tzre^^ws Kaff "O/xijpoj/ nrfpofvras fivat. dTro&fjSXTjKevai 
yap avrovs TOV 'Epiioyevrjv, KaGdntp irrtpd. . . . 'EreXeura ptv ovv fv fiaQd yypa, 


tls Se TO>V iro\\5>v vo[iiofj.(i>os. KaT((ppovjj0T) yap, aTroXnrova-rjs avrbv rrjs 
Tfxvrjs. Philostratus de Vitis Sophist, sub tit. Hermogenes. 

Suidas, who follows Philostratus word for word in some parts, 
tells the story more fully, and, as regards the age at which he gained 
distinction, more credibly : 'Eppoyfvrjs, Tapa-evs, 6 f7riK\r)v IVOTIJP, 
cro<ioTijs' . . . yeyove 8e eVl Map/cow TOV ftacriXetos, ev^vecrraTos, KOI TTJS 
fjXiKias avrov eVSffore'pas vnapxovcrrjs, [i.aX\ov 17 (ppovrjcris vnepflxtv. dXX' OVK 
es paicpbv raiiTrjs dnrjXav&e' yevopevos yap Trept ra eiKO(ri /cat TeVtrapa err/ 
f(<TTr) T>V (ppfvfov, Kal ijv dXXoto? avrov,^efj.ias d(popnrjs yfvofj.evr}s t) 
dppaxTrias TOV aw/xaTos .... TTtpl TOV IT/ (18) r} K (20) \povov yevd/iet/or 
ypd(p(i ravra TO. (BifiXia TO. ytfjiovra 6av/j.dTo>v. The list follows. Suidas, 

Lexicon, sub voce. 

P. 301, 1. 3. a fluent and luxurious speech] Conf. 'Sed si quaerimus 
cur adolescens magis floruerit dicendo quam senior Hortensius, causas 
reperiemus verissimas duas. Primum quod genus erat orationis 
Asiaticum, adolescentiae magis concessum quam senectuti. . . . Itaque 
Hortensius . . . clamores faciebat adolescens . . . Etsi enim genus 
illud dicendi auctoritatis habebat parum, tamen aptum esse aetati 
videbatur. . . . Sed quum jam honores et ilia senior auctoritas gravius 
quiddam requireret, remanebat idem nee decebat idem.' Cic. Brutus, 
c. 95. ' Ipsum etiam eloquentiae genus alios aliud decet : nam neque 
tarn plenum et erectum et audax et praecultum senibus convenerit, 
quam pressum et mite et limatum, et quale intelligi vult Cicero, quum 
dicit orationem suam coepisse canescere : sic vestibus quoque non 
purpura coccoque fulgentibus ilia aetas satis apta sit. In juvenibus 
etiam uberiora paulo, et paene periclitantia feruntur; at in iisdem 
siccum et sollicitum et contractum dicendi propositum, plerumque 
affectatione ipsa severitatis invisum est.' Quintilian, Instit. Orat. xi. 


1. 8. Scipio Africanus] Livy's statement does not bear out the 
use which Bacon makes of it. He records how Scipio, towards 
the close of his life, when worried by envious and captious accusa 
tions, refused to put himself on his defence. ' Major animus et natura 
erat ac majori fortunae assuetus quam ut reus esse sciret, et sub- 
mittere se in humilitatem causam dicentium.' This defiant attitude 
he maintained, and his accusers could get no hearing ; but ' silentium 
deinde de Africano fuit. Vitam Literni egit sine desiderio urbis . . . 
Vir memorabilis : bellicis tamen quam pacis artibus memorabilior 
prima pars vitae quam posterior fuit ; quia in juventa bella assidue 
gesta; cum senecta res quoque defloruere nee praebita est materia 
ingenio.' Bk. xxxviii. 52 and 53. 

1. 9. Ultima primis &c.] From Ovid. Her. ix. 23. 



VIRTUE* is like a rich stone, best plain set; and surely 
virtue is best in a body that is comely, though not of 
delicate features ; and that hath rather dignity of presence 
than beauty of aspect ; neither is it almost seen b that very 
beautiful persons are otherwise of great virtue ; as if 
nature were rather busy not to err than in labour to 
produce excellency; and therefore they prove accom 
plished, but not of great spirit ; and study rather behaviour 
than virtue. But this holds not always : for Augustus 

10 Caesar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, 
Edward the Fourth of England, Alcibiades of Athens, 
Ismael the Sophy of Persia, were all high and great 
spirits, and yet the most beautiful men of their times. 
In beauty, that of favour is more than that of colour; 
and that of decent and gracious motion more than that 
of favour. That is the best part of beauty which a picture 
cannot express ; no, nor the first sight of the life. There 
is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in 
the proportion. A man cannot tell whether Apelles or 

20 Albert Durer were the more trifler ; whereof the one 

Virtue] i. e. excellence of any violl with a stick doth not alter man's 

kind. The examples given below of favour nor disgraceth any gentleman : 

the union of beauty and virtue show but otherwise to play on the flute, his 

clearly that it cannot be of moral virtue countenance altereth and changeth so 

that Bacon is speaking. So, in Essay oft that his familiar friends can scant 

14: 'Those that are first raised to know him.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 198. And, 

nobility are commonly more virtuous, ' Painters or drawers of pictures, which 

but less innocent than their descend- make no account of other parts of the 

ants.' body, do take the resemblances of the 

b neither is it almost seen] Lat. neque face and favour of the countenance, in 

fere reperies. the which consisteth the judgment of 

c favour] i.e. the features or ex- their manners and disposition.' p. 673. 

pression of the countenance. Conf. Conf. also Blundevill, Of Counsells 

' He (Alcibiades) disdained to learn (1570), under the heading Qualities of 

to play on the flute or recorder : body ' countenance, which some call 

saying that it was no gentlemanly favour or feawter of the face.' The 

quality. For, said he, to play on the book is not paged. 



would make a personage by geometrical proportions : the 
other, by taking the best parts out of divers faces to make 
one excellent. Such personages, I think, would please 
nobody but the painter that made them : not but I think d 
a painter may make a better face than ever was ; but he 
must do it by a kind of felicity (as a musician that maketh 
an excellent air in music), and not by rule. A man shall 
see faces that, if you examine them part by part, you shall 
find never a good ; and yet altogether do well. If it be 
true that the principal part of beauty is in decent motion, 10 
certainly it is no marvel though persons in years seem 
many times more amiable ; Pulchrorum autumnus pulcher; 
for no youth can be comely but by pardon, and consider 
ing the youth as to make up the comeliness. Beauty 
is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt and cannot 
last; and, for the most part, it makes a dissolute youth 
and an age a little out of countenance 6 ; but yet certainly 
again, if it light well it maketh virtues shine, and vices 
blush f . 


The word ' Beauty' is used in this Essay in several different senses. 
It stands first as exquisiteness of face or form ; it is presently said 
rather to consist in decent and gracious motion than in anything 
else. So understood, it is set down as a special attribute of the old 
rather than of the young, as proper to the autumn of life, and as 

d not but I think} i. e. not but that. 
Lat. non quin existimem. 

out of countenance] i. e. dissatisfied 
with itself. Conf. ' Wherein a man is 
conscious to himself that he is most 
defective, and is most out of counte 
nance in himself.' Essay 53. The 
Latin sero poenitentem is stronger than 
the text warrants. 

f if it light well &c.) How, if it 
light well, it makes virtues shine, is 
clear enough ; how it makes vices blush 
is not so clear. The passage has been 
explained as meaning that where 

beauty and virtues are combined, they 
make vices in others appear so much 
the more shameful and deformed by 
contrast with the two-fold excellence 
of the opposite pattern. I prefer to 
take it that the words ' if it light well ' 
apply only to the clause which imme 
diately follows ; and that the assertion 
that beauty makes vices blush stands 
independently, and means that beauty 
is in the nature of a disgrace to the 
vicious. This is borne out by the anti- 
theta 'Quod vestis lauta deformi,hoc 
forma improbo.' Works, i. 689. 



hardly indeed to be attributed to the young at all. Then, in the next 
sentence, after this assertion of its essentially enduring character, it 
is said to be as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt and cannot 

P. 304, 1. 2. comely, though not &c.] This and much of the rest 
seems to be taken from a passage in the De Officiis, a good deal con 
fused in the rendering. Cicero says, very clearly, ' Cum autem pul- 
chritudinis duo genera sint, quorum in altero venustas sit, in altero 
dignitas ; venustatem muliebrem ducere debemus : dignitatem viri- 
lem. . . . Formae autem dignitas coloris bonitate tuenda est : color 
exercitationibus corporis. . . . Cavendum est autem, ne aut tardita- 
tibus utamur in gressu mollioribus, ut pomparum ferculis similes esse 
videamur : aut in festinationibus suscipiamus nimias celeritates ; quae 
cum fiunt, anhelitus movetur, vultus mutantur, ora torquentur.' De 
Officiis, bk. i. cap. 36. 

1. 9. Augustus Caesar] ' Forma fuit eximia, et per omnes aetatis 
gradus venustissima.' Suetonius, Augustus, cap. 79. 

1. 10. Titus Vespasianus\ ' In puero statim corporis animique dotes 
exsplenduerunt, magisque ac magis deinceps per aetatis gradus, forma 
egregia, et cui non minus auctoritatis inesset quam gratiae.' Sue 
tonius, Vespasianus, cap. 3. 

1. ii. Alcibiades\ ' Now for Alcibiades' beauty, ... he was wonder- 
full faire, being a child, a boy, and a man, and that at all times, which 
made him marvellous amiable and beloved of every man.' Plutarch's 
Lives, p. 197. 

1. 12. Ismaef] Conf. 'Ce jeune prince (Hismael Sophi) trouva de 
1'accueil inopine par le moyen d'un prestre Armenien, qui, se meslant 
d'astrologiser judiciarement, apres avoir contemple la face et physio- 
nomie de ce jeune Prince, trouva 1'esperance de tant de graces et 
perfections si bien asseuree par les traits de son visage et composition 
de son corps, qu'il print toutes les peynes soin et solicitude qu'il peut 
a Peslever.' Thevet, Vie des hommes illustres, vol. ii. p. 657 B. 
(Paris, 1584). 

1. 19. Apelles~\ The story referred to is told not of Apelles but of 
Zeuxis. Conf. ' So curious and exquisite he (Zeuxis) was, that when 
he should make a table with a picture for the Agrigentines ... he 
would needs see all the maidens of the citie, naked : and from all 
that companie he chose five of the fairest to take out, as from several 
patterns, whatsoever he liked best in any of them ; and of all the 
lovely parts of those five to make one bodie of incomparable beautie.' 
Pliny, N. H. bk. xxxv. cap. 9. Conf. also, Cicero, de Inventione, 
bk. ii. cap. i, where a like story is told, at greater length, about 
a picture painted by Zeuxis for the inhabitants of Crotona. 

1. 20. Albert Durer] Gives at great length and illustrates in detail 
the proportional measurements which the various parts of the human 


body ought to bear to one another. The Latinized version of his 
book bears title De Symmetria partium in rectis formis humanoruni 

P. 305, 1. 12. Pulchrorum autumnus pulcher] The Latin version gives 
the adage as secundum illud Euripidis. It is misquoted, perhaps from 
Erasmi Adagia, where the correct reading is ' pulchrorum etiatn 
autumnus pulcher est.' 

Erasmus comments as follows : ' Metaphora proverbialis, nata ex 
Archelai apophthegmate, quod ab eo dictum Plutarchus refert in 
Euripidem, qui jam pubescentem atque exoletum Agathonem in 
convivio suaviabatur.' 

The adage occurs in three passages of Plutarch. 

(i) In the Life of Alcibiades, so mistranslated by North as to bear 
out the use which Bacon makes of it : ' Now for Alcibiades' beauty, 
it made no matter if we spake not of it, yet I will a litle touch it by 
the way : for he was wonderfull faire, being a child, a boy, and a man, 
and that at all times which made him marvellous amiable and be 
loved of every man. For where Euripides saith, that of all the faire 
times of the year, the Autumne or latter season is the fairest : that 
commonly falleth out not true. And yet it proved true in Alcibiades, 
though in few other.' Lives, p. 197. The original gives : Oi yap (a>s 
EiptTU&Tjs eXe-ye) irdvTwv TO>V KaXwj/ KOL TO fifTononpov *caXdj> ecrnv. 

It occurs again in the 'EpwmdV Ta Se vnb EvpnriSov pr)6evra eVn 
KOfjiijrd' e(pr) yap, 'Ayddcwa rbv Kcthbv fjdrj yevfiavra 7Tf/3i/3aXXa>j/ Kai 
lievoS) OTI TO>V Kakaiv feat TO fifTonatpov Ka\6v. 

And in the 'A.Tro<p6fy/j.aTa /SacriX/aw Acal (rrpaTijy&v, sub VOC6 ' 
ToC 8e Evpnridov TOV KaXov 'A.yd0a>va TTfpiXafi^dvovros fv T< ovpirocrla KOI 
Kara(pi\ovvTos fj8r) yevei&vTa, irpbs TOVS (pi\ovs fine, Mr) tfav/iao-qre, ra>v yap 
Ka\mv KOI TO p,(Tona>pov Kahov ecrnv. 

Aelian, Var. Hist. xiii. cap. 4, telling the same story, ascribes the 
adage to Euripides, and adds that he was drunk at the time. This 
may pass as an excuse or as an aggravation. 

It is clear on the whole case, that Bacon's assertion of the superior 
beauty of the old must be defended on some other authority than 
that which he here forces into use. He gives the adage correctly in 
his collection of Apophthegms ; Works, vii. p. 145. 

X 2 



DEFORMED persons are commonly even with nature ; for 
as nature hath done ill by them, so do they by nature, 
being for the most part (as the Scripture saith), void of 
natural affection; and so they have their revenge of nature. 
Certainly there is a consent between the body and the 
mind, and where nature erreth in the one, she ventureth a 
in the other : Ubi peccat in itno, periclitatur in altero : but 
because there is in man an election touching the frame of 
his mind, and a necessity in the frame of his body, the 

10 stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured by the 
sun of discipline and virtue ; therefore it is good to con 
sider of deformity, not as a sign which is more deceivable b , 
but as a cause which seldom faileth of the effect. Whoso 
ever hath anything fixed in his person that doth induce 
contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself to rescue 
and deliver himself from scorn ; therefore all deformed 
persons are extreme bold ; first, as in their own defence, 
as being exposed to scorn, but in process of time by a 
general habit. Also it stirreth in them industry, and espe- 

20 cially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of 
others that they may have somewhat to repay. Again, in 
their superiors it quencheth jealousy towards them, as 
persons that they think they may at pleasure despise : and 
it layeth their competitors and emulators asleep, as never 
believing they should be in possibility of advancement till 
they see them in possession : so that upon the matter , in 

* she ventureth] i. e. she runs risk of c upon the matter] i. e. in strict fact, 

failure. Lat. si rent diligenter introspicias. Conf. 

b is more deceivable~] i. e. is apt to be ' My Lord Chief Justice shewed us 
deceptive. Lat. quod quandoque fallit. passages of Suarez and others, whereby 
Conf. ' Whose duty is deceivable and to prove that by the general Bulls of 
false.' Richard II, act ii. sc. 3. For this Coena Domini and others, you were 
use of a comparative form where no upon the matter excommunicate.' Let- 
comparison is intended, conf. note on ters and Life, v. 119. And, in Bacon's 
Essay 47, p. 331. answer to the i4th article of charge 



a great wit d , deformity is an advantage to rising. Kings 
in ancient times (and at this present in some countries) 
were wont to put great trust in eunuchs, because they 
that are envious towards all are more obnoxious and 
officious f towards one ; but yet their trust towards them 
hath rather been as to good spials g and good whisperers 
than good magistrates and officers : and much like is the 
reason of deformed persons h . Still the ground is 1 , they 
will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themselves from 
scorn: which must be either by virtue or malice; and, 10 
therefore, let it not be marvelled if sometimes they prove 
excellent persons ; as was Agesilails, Zanger the son of 
Solyman, Aesop, Gasca president of Peru ; and Socrates 
may go likewise amongst them, with others. 


Dr. Abbott introduces this Essay with the following quotation and 
remarks : ' Chamberlain, in a letter to Sir Dudley Carleton, written 
Dec. 17, 1612, soon after the publication of the second edition of the 
Essays, says : " Sir Francis Bacon hath set out new Essays, where, 
in a chapter on Deformity, the world takes notice that he paints out 
his little cousin to the life." The " little cousin," Robert Cecil, Earl 
of Salisbury, had recently died, and if "the world" was right (of 

against him : ' Some good time after 
the first decree and before the second, 
the said 500 was delivered to me by 
Mr.Tobye Mathew, so as I cannot deny 
but it was, upon the matter, pendente 
lite.' Letters and Life, vii. 256. The 
phrase is used by Bacon in other 
places, and always in the same 

d in a great wit] Lat. in magno in- 

e obnoxious] A Latinism, frequent 
with Bacon. Conf. ' Somewhat ob 
noxious to him for his favours and 
benefits.' Works, vi. 64, where it is 
explained by Mr. Spedding as meaning 
rather more than obliged and not quite 
so much as dependent. When a man 
stands in such a relation to another 

that he is not free to act as he other 
wise would, Bacon would have said 
that he is obnoxious to him. 

* officious] i. e. ready to do offices. 
Conf. ' In favour, to use men with 
much difference and election is good, 
for it makes the persons preferred more 
thankful, and the rest more officious.' 
Essay 48. 

* spials] i. e. spies or detectives. 
Lat. rimatores. Conf. ' Hannibal had 
secret intelligence of all this variance, 
by spials he had sent into the enemies' 
camp.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 1068. 

n the reason q/&c.] i. e. the relation 
in which deformed persons stand. Lat. 

1 the ground is] Lat. manet ilia 
regula quam antea posuimus. 



which there is no proof) it was somewhat ungenerous of Bacon thus 
to hold up to contempt a man lately dead, to whom he had been in 
debted for many services, and to whom he had written (New Year's 
Day, 1608 A. D.), " I do esteem whatsoever I have, or may have, in the 
world but as trash in comparison of having the honour and happi 
ness to be a near and well-accepted kinsman to so rare and worthy 
a counsellor, governor, and patriot."' More follows in the same 
strain. It is not a solitary and scarcely an extreme instance of Bacon's 
language to his cousin while he was alive and in power. 

Whether the world was right in believing that the chapter on 
Deformity was sketched after Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, it is 
not possible to decide. There is, as Dr. Abbott says, no proof of it. 
It is certain, however, that strokes of the kind are not unfrequent in 
the Essays. In, e. g. Essay 22, Of Cunning, many of the remarks are 
avowedly based on Bacon's own observation of other men's words 
and ways. Much of Essay 26, Of Seeming Wise, points clearly to 
Sir Henry Hobart. In Essay 56, 'an over-speaking judge is no well- 
tuned cymbal ' appears aimed at Bacon's old enemy, Coke. In fixing 
such references the judgment of contemporaries must have great 
weight allowed to it. Little points of resemblance, which escape 
notice now, would be detected at once by those who had known the 
living originals, and the portraits would be recognised by a variety 
of marks which have no significance for us. But in some points of 
the Essay on Deformity the likeness is still clear. It is well known 
that Sir Robert Cecil was deformed. Sir Robert Naunton in his 
Fragmenta Regalia thus describes him : ' For his person, he was 
not much beholding to nature, though somewhat for his face, which 
was the best part of his outside.' And again : ' Though his little 
crooked person could not promise any great supportation, yet it 
carried thereon a head, and a head-piece of a vast content.' 

In spite of this deformity, and in spite of his weak health, Sir Robert 
Cecil had been in possession of advancement. He had been one of 
Elizabeth's most trusted ministers and counsellors, and James, little 
as he liked him, had used his services to the last. He had always 
been remarkable as what Bacon terms 'a good spial.' Naunton, 
after speaking of him as growing up under the 'tutorship of the 
times and Court, which were then the academies of art and cunning,' 
goes on to say, ' it seems Nature was so diligent to compleat one and 
the best part about him, as that to the perfection of his memory and 
intellectuals she took care also of his sences and to put him in linceos 
oculos, or to pleasure him the more borrowed of Argus so as to give 
him a prospective sight : and for the rest of his sensitive vertues, his 
predecessor, Walsingham' (said by Naunton 'to have had certain 
curiosities and secret ways of intelligence above the rest ') ' had left 
him a receit to smell out what was done in the Conclave : and his 


good old Father was so well seen in the mathematics, as that he 
could tell you through all Spain, every part, every ship with the 
burthens, whither bound with preparation, what impediments for 
diversion of enterprises, counsels, and resolutions.' Naunton then 
gives ' a taste of his abilities ' in a private letter to the Earl of Devon 
shire, showing curious familiarity with the power and designs of 
Spain. This is a tolerably complete picture of a ' good spial.' 

A 'good whisperer' Bacon certainly believed him to be. He had 
long, and perhaps rightly, suspected him of using his influence in a 
way not friendly to himself. We have frequent proofs of this in his 
letters, not to the Earl, but to other people about the Earl. In a 
letter, e. g. written to James (whether sent or not is uncertain) shortly 
after the Earl's death, he makes humble oblation of himself as a fit 
subject for promotion to office ' now that he is gone quo vivente vir- 
tutibus certissimum exitmm.' Letters and Life, iv. 281, 282, So, too, 
writing to Sir George Villiers in 1616, he advises him to countenance 
and advance able men, and virtuous men, and meriting men. ' For 
in the time of the Cecils, the father and the son, able men were, 
by design and of purpose, suppressed.' Letters and Life, vi. 6. The 
text at the beginning of the Essay ' being for the most part (as the 
Scripture saith) " void of natural affection," ' may therefore have been 
twisted in to suit Bacon's belief that his deformed cousin had not 
done him an affectionate cousin's part. 'Somewhat ungenerous,' 
says Dr. Abbott ; but not more ungenerous than his letters to the 
King certainly were. The first drafted (perhaps never sent) is 
moderate in its fault-finding, but it is unlike anything which Bacon 
ever ventured to let the Earl know that he thought about him. 
(Letters and Life, iv. 280.) Then followed an interview with the 
King, at which Bacon discovered that he was on safe ground in 
depreciating his dead cousin. (Works, vii. 175.) After this he gives 
free vent to his dislike. A letter (Letters and Life, iv. 313) certainly 
sent to the King some months after the Earl's death, and a letter 
quoted in a note on the same page which was drafted but not sent, 
are more than ' somewhat ungenerous,' and are in as marked contrast 
to the letter which Dr. Abbott quotes as anything in the chapter Of 
Deformity, in whatever way we interpret it. 

P. 308, 1. 3. void of natural affection} Romans i. 31. There is, of 
course, no reference to deformed persons in the original. 

P. 309, 1. 3. in eunuchs &c.] Conf. ' Deformed persons and eunuchs 
and old men and bastards are envious.' Essay g. 

1. 12. Agesilaus] ' For the deformity of his legs, the one being 
shorter than the other, ... he used the matter so pleasantly and 
patiently that he would merrily mock himself, which manner of 
merry behaviour did greatly hide the blame of the blemish. Yea, 
further, his life and courage was the more commendable in him, for 


that men saw that notwithstanding his lameness he refused no pains 
nor labour.' Plutarch, Life of Agesilaus, p. 612. 

1. 12. Zanger\ A son of Solyman the magnificent. After Soly- 
man had put his son Mustapha to death, ' he sent for Tzihanger the 
crooked, yet ignorant of all that was happened ; and in sporting 
wise . . . bid him go meet his brother Mustapha: which thing 
Tzihanger with a merry and cheerefull countenance hasted to 
doe, as one glad of his brothers comming. But as soone as he came 
unto the place where he saw his brother lying dead upon the ground 
strangled, it is not to be spoken how he was in minde tormented. He 
was scarcely come to the place where this detestable murther was 
committed when his father sent unto him certain of his servants to 
offer unto him all Mustapha's treasure, horses, servants, jewels, 
tents, and withall the government of the Province of Amasia : but 
Tzihanger filled with extreme heaviness for the unmercifull death of 
his well-beloved brother, spake unto them in this sort : Ah wicked 
and ungodly Caine, traitor, (I may not say father) take thou now the 
treasures, the horses, the tents, the servants, the jewels, and the province of 
Mustapha. ... 7 will therefore myself provide that thou, nor none for 
thee shall ever hereafter in such sort shamefully triumph over a poor 
crooked wretch. And having thus much said, stabbed himself with 
his own dagger into the body, whereof he in short time died ; Which 
so soon as it came to the old Tiger's eares it is hard to say how much 
he grieved.' Knolles, Hist, of the Turks, p. 763. 

1. 13. Aesop} On Aesop's alleged deformity, conf. 'That idiot of 
a monk (Planudes) has given us a book, which he calls The Life of 
Aesop, that perhaps cannot be matched in any language for ignorance 
and nonsense. ... Of all his injuries to Aesop, that which can least 
be forgiven him is, the making such a monster of him for ugliness ; an 
abuse that has found credit so universally, that all the modern painters 
since the time of Planudes, have drawn him in the worst shapes and 
features that fancy could invent. ... I wish I could do that justice to 
the memory of our Phrygian to oblige the painters to change their 
pencil. For 'tis certain he was no deformed person ; and 'tis pro 
bable he was very handsome.' Bentley, Dissertation upon the Fables 
of Aesop, sees. 9 and 10. 

Gasca} Pedro de la Gasca, a Spanish ecclesiastic, sent out to 
Peru (1545-50) with unlimited powers to deal with the rebellion of 
Gonzalo Pizarro. He discharged his mission with success, 1547. 
' Gasca (says Prescott) was plain in person, and his countenance was 
far from comely. He was awkward and disproportioned, for his 
limbs were too long for his body so that when he rode he appeared 
to be much shorter than he really was.' Hist, of Conquest of Peru, 
bk. v. cap. 4. This book gives a lengthy account of the presidentship 
and acts of this remarkable man. 


Socrates} Socrates' defects hardly entitle him to a place among 
'deformed persons.' Perhaps Bacon had in mind a passage in 
Montaigne's Essays : ' Socrates a este un exemplaire parfaict en 
toutes grandes qualitez. J'ay despit qu'il eust rencontre un corps et 
un visage si vilain, comme ils disent, et disconvenable a la beaute de 
son ame.' Bk. iii. chap. 12. 


HOUSES are built to live in and not to look on ; therefore 
let use be preferred before uniformity a , except where both 
may be had. Leave the goodly fabrics of houses for 
beauty only to the enchanted palaces of the poets, who 
build them with small cost. He that builds a fair house 
upon an ill seat committeth himself to prison : neither do 
I reckon it an ill seat only where the air is unwholesome, 
but likewise where the air is unequal; as you shall see 
many fine seats set upon a knap b of ground environed 
with higher hills round about it, whereby the heat of the 10 
sun is pent in, and the wind gathereth as in troughs ; so 
as you shall have, and that suddenly, as great diversity of 
heat and cold as if you dwelt in several places. Neither 
is it ill air only that maketh an ill seat ; but ill ways, ill 
markets, and, if you will consult with Momus, ill neigh 
bours. I speak not of many more ; want of water, want 
of wood shade and shelter, want of fruitfulness and mixture 
of grounds c of several natures ; want of prospect, want of 
level grounds, want of places at some near distance for 

* uniformity] The Latin gives for c mixture of grounds] It is the want 

this pulchritudini. of mixture of grounds and not the mix- 

b knap] i. e. knoll or hillock. Lat. ture which Bacon speaks of as making 

in colliculo paululum elevato. an 'ill seat.' 


sports of hunting, hawking, and -races ; too near the sea, 
too remote ; having the commodity of navigable rivers, or 
the discommodity of their overflowing ; too far off from 
great cities, which may hinder business ; or too near them, 
which lurcheth d all provisions and maketh everything dear ; 
where a man hath a great living laid together, and where 
he is scanted ; all which, as it is impossible perhaps to find 
together, so it is good to know them and think of them, 
that a man may take as many as he can ; and if he have 

io several dwellings, that he sort them so that what he 
wanteth in the one he may find in the other. Lucullus 
answered Pompey well, who, when he saw his stately 
galleries and rooms so large and lightsome in one of his 
houses, said, Surely an excellent place for summer, but how 
do you in winter? Lucullus answered, Why, do you not 
think me as wise as some fowls are, that ever change their 
abode towards the winter ? 

To pass from the seat to the house itself, we will do 
as Cicero doth in the orator's art, who writes books De 

20 Oratore and a book he entitles Orator ; whereof the 
former delivers the precepts of the art and the latter the 
perfection. We will therefore describe a princely palace, 
making a brief model thereof; for it is strange to see now 
in Europe such huge buildings as the Vatican and Escurial 
and some others be, and yet scarce a very fair room in 

First therefore I say, you cannot have a perfect palace 
except you have two several sides ; a side for the banquet, 
as is spoken of in the book of Hester, and a side for the 

30 household ; the one for feasts and triumphs 6 , and the other 

d lurcheth] Intercepts, snatches up. another with the elbow, and to be 

Lat. victui necessaria absorbet. Conf. with hand or arm in his fellow's way.' 

' Methinks it is not an auspicate be- Plutarch, Morals, Sympos. ii. Quest, 

ginning of a feast, nor agreeable to 10. p. 557. 

amity and good fellowship, to snatch or e triumphs] i. e. shows of some 

lurch one from another, to have many magnificence. Conf. Essay 37. 
hands in a dish at once, to cross one 


for dwelling. I understand both these sides to be not only 
returns f but parts of the front; and to be uniform without, 
though severally partitioned within; and to be on both 
sides of a great and stately tower in the midst of the front, 
that as it were joineth them together on either hand. I 
would have, on the side of the banquet, in front, one only 
goodly room above stairs, of some forty foot high ; and 
under it a room for a dressing or preparing place at times 
of triumphs. On the other side, which is the household 
side, I wish it divided at the first into a hall and a chapel 10 
(with a partition between), both of good state and bigness ; 
and those not to go all the length, but to have at the 
further end a winter and a summer parlour, both fair ; and 
under these rooms a fair and large cellar sunk under 
ground ; and likewise some privy kitchens, with butteries 
and pantries, and the like. As for the tower, I would 
have it two stories of eighteen foot high apiece above the 
two wings ; and a goodly leads upon the top, railed with 
statuas interposed ; and the same tower to be divided into 
rooms, as shall be thought fit. The stairs likewise to the 20 
upper rooms, let them be upon a fair open newel g , and 
finely railed in with images of wood cast into a brass 
colour ; and a very fair landing-place at the top. But this 
to be, if you do not point h any of the lower rooms for a 
dining-place of servants ; for otherwise you shall have the 
servants' dinner after your own : for the steam of it will 

r not only returns] ' Either of the 
adjoining sides of the front of an house 
or ground-plot is called a return side.' 
Glossary of Terms used in Architecture. 
Bacon's rule must therefore be taken 
to mean that the returns or wings are 
not only to be added on to the main 
building, but are to form an even 
building line with it, the elevation 
being varied only by the high central 

z newel] Explained in the Glossary 

of Terms used in Architecture as inter 
alia the central column round which 
the stairs of a circular stair-case wind. 
So Cotgrave, Dictionary, sub voce : 
' Noyau the nuell or spindel of a 
winding staircase.' The Latin pre 
sents the same picture in somewhat 
different terms : Gradtts autem lurris 
apertos esse et in se revertentes ; and adds 
further et per senos subinde divisos. 

11 point] i.e. appoint. Conf. ' point 
ing days for pitched fields.' Essay 58. 


come up as in a tunnel. And so much for the front : only 
I understand the height of the first stairs to be sixteen foot, 
which is the height of the lower room. 

Beyond this front is there to be a fair court, but three 
sides of it of a far lower building than the front ; and in 
all the four corners of that court fair staircases, cast 
into turrets on the outside, and not within the row of 
buildings themselves : but those towers are not to be 
of the height of the front, but rather proportionable to 

to the lower building. Let the court not be paved, for that 
striketh up a great heat in summer and much cold in 
winter : but only some side alleys with a cross J , and the 
quarters to graze, being kept shorn but not too near shorn. 
The row of return on the banquet side, let it be all stately 
galleries : in which galleries let there be three or five fine 
cupolas in the length of it, placed at equal distance, and 
fine coloured windows of several works : on the household 
side, chambers of presence and ordinary entertainments, 
with some bed-chambers : and let all three sides be a 

20 double house k , without thorough lights on the sides, that 
you may have rooms from the sun, both for forenoon and 
afternoon. Cast it also that you may have rooms both for 
summer and winter; shady for summer and warm for 
winter. You shall have sometimes fair houses so full of 
glass that one cannot tell where to become l to be out of 

1 with a cross &c.~] i. e. with two cen- ground will be like a wood . . . 
tral paths, crossing it to the length and whereby it will never graze (to pur- 
breadth, and thus dividing the court pose) that year.' Works, ii. 527. 
into four quarters or plots, which are k be a double house] i. e. let them 
' to graze,' or to have grass growing have rooms back and front, 
on them. The Latin is more clear i to become] i. e. to betake oneself, 
than the somewhat enigmatical Eng- Lat. ubi te recipias. The word, in this 
lish : Area habeat . , . formam cruets sense, was growing obsolete in Bacon's 
ex iisdem (ambulacris) in media ; cunt day. It occurs in Shakespeare twice 
quadris ititerpositis, quae gramine vesti- only, and in a play of questioned 
antur. For 'graze,' conf. 'The fen- authorship. 

men hold that the sewers must be kept 'I cannot joy until I be resolved 

so as the water may not stay too Where our right valiant father is 

long in the spring, till the weeds and become.' 

sedge be grown up : for then the Henry VI, Part iii. act ii. sc. I, or 


3 T 7 

the sun or cold. For imbowed m windows, I hold them of 
good use (in cities indeed upright do better, in respect of 
the uniformity towards the street); for they be pretty re 
tiring places for conference ; and besides, they keep both 
the wind and sun off; for that which would strike almost 
through the room doth scarce pass the window : but let 
them be but few, four in the court, on the sides only. 

Beyond this court, let there be an inward court of the 
same square and height, which is to be environed with the 
garden on all sides ; and in the inside, cloistered on all I0 
sides upon decent and beautiful arches, as high as the first 
story: on the under story towards the garden, let it be 
turned to a grotto, or place of shade, or estivation 11 , and 
only have opening and windows towards the garden, and 
be level upon the floor, no whit sunk under ground to 
avoid all dampishness : and let there be a fountain, or 
some fair work of statuas in the midst of this court, and to 
be paved as the other court was. These buildings to be 
for privy lodgings on both sides, and the end for privy 
galleries ; whereof you must foresee that one of them be 20 
for an infirmary, if the prince or any special person should 
be sick, with chambers, bed-chamber, anticamera , and re- 
camera, joining to it; this upon the second story. Upon 
the ground story, a fair gallery, open, upon pillars; and 
upon the third story likewise, an open gallery upon pillars, 
to take the prospect and freshness of the garden. At both 
corners of the further side, by way of return, let there be 
two delicate or rich cabinets, daintily paved, richly hanged, 
glazed with crystalline glass, and a rich cupola in the 
midst ; and all other elegancy that can be thought upon. 3 

True Tragedy of Richard Duke of 
York, sc. 4 ; and 

' But Madam, where is Warwick 
then become?' 

Henry VI, Part iii. act iv. sc. 4. 

m inbowed] i. e. arched, bent like a 

bow = bow- windows. Lat. Quantum 

ad fenestras prominentes sive arena- 

u estivation} i. e. summer use : from 
the Latin aestivare, to take cool quar 
ters for summer. 

anticamera] Properly (as in the 
Latin trans.) antecamera. 

3i 8 ESSAY XLV. 

In the upper gallery too, I wish that there may be, if the 
place will yield it, some fountains running in divers places 
from the wall p , with some fine avoidances' 1 . And thus 
much for the model of the palace; save that you must 
have, before you come to the front, three courts ; a green 
court plain with a wall about it; a second court of the 
same but more garnished, with little turrets or rather em 
bellishments upon the wall ; and a third court, to make a 
square with the front, but not to be built nor yet enclosed 
10 with a naked wall, but enclosed with terraces leaded aloft, 
and fairly garnished on the three sides ; and cloistered on 
the inside with pillars, and not with arches below. As for 
offices, let them stand at distance, with some low galleries 
to pass from them to the palace itself. 


The care for use and beauty to the neglect of defensive strength in 
building had been of somewhat recent growth in Bacon's day. The 
reign of Henry VII had introduced a new mode of living, and with it 
a new style of domestic architecture. With his marriage the feuds 
between the houses of York and Lancaster came to an end, and a 
long season of internal peace seemed about to follow the troublous 
times of the preceding monarchs. Before this domestic architecture 
can scarcely be said to have had any existence ; the mansions erected 
were rather military than domestic, more like fortresses than dwell 
ings. Now men began to look for convenience rather than strength. 
The thickness of the walls was reduced ; the size of the windows 
was enlarged, and the general arrangements were made for comfort 
and convenience rather than for security. Henry VIII had been a 
great builder, and had encouraged his nobles to build. But before 
the date of the Elizabethan or late Tudor style (a style which con 
tinued in use during the reign of James I) the mansions had usually 

P from the wall] Lat. juxta parietes. only by help of the Latin that its sense 

i with some fine avoidances] i. e. here can be determined. The secrecy 

channels artfully arranged by which of the Latin seems to follow from the 

the water may pass away. Lat. qui nature of the objects, which, if well 

per secretos tubos iterum transeant. The contrived, must be artfully kept out of 

word fine has so many meanings, any sight, 
of which would suit the text, that it is 


been one story in height, and badly planned. With the new style 
came more lofty buildings, and more skill in the disposition of the 
apartments. Next, more bay-windows were introduced, more im 
portance was given to the halls and staircases, and the lighting area 
was increased, the windows being greatly enlarged in size so much 
so, indeed, that as Bacon declares in his Essay, ' you shall sometimes 
have fair houses so full of glass that one cannot tell where to become 
to be out of the sun or cold.' Bacon, in his early writings, had already 
noted the general improvement that had been made in English 
building. In his discourse in praise of his sovereign (Elizabeth) he 
says, ' if you have respect (to take one sign for many) to the number 
of fair houses that have been built since her reign, as Augustus said 
that he had received the city of brick and had left it of marble, so 
she may say she received it a realm of cottages, and hath made it a 
realm of palaces.' Letters and Life, i. 131. And, ' There was never 
the like number of fair and stately houses as have been built and set 
up from the ground since her Majesty's reign ; insomuch that there 
have been reckoned in one shire that is not great to the number of 
three and thirty, which have been all new built within that time ; 
and whereof the meanest was never built for two thousand pounds.' 
Ibid. p. 158. James' reign had been distinguished in the same way. 
Nicholson, in his Dictionary of Architecture, sub tit. Tudor Archi 
tecture (from which a great part of the above note has been taken), 
gives a list of the most magnificent structures and chief nobles' 
palaces built in James'- time. 

P. 313, 1. 15. consult with Momus] The reference is to the well- 
known story of the faults found by Momus in each of the three works 
between which he was appointed to decide. As it is told in the 
Mythologia Aesopica of Neveletus, the three contending powers 
were (i) Jupiter, who produced a bull, pronounced faulty because its 
eyes were not best placed for guiding the stroke of its horns ; (2) 
Prometheus, who produced a man, whose fault was that the seat 
of his thoughts did not hang outside him, so that his thoughts 
might be seen ; and (3) Minerva, who produced a house, on 
which the remark was 'oportuisse Minervam rotas aedibus sup- 
posuisse, ut si quis forte malo cohabitaret vicino, facile discedere 
posset.' Aesopi fabulae Graecolatinae, 193, Jupiter, Prometheus, 
Minerva et Momus (published 1610). Bacon refers elsewhere to 
the story, but not to this part of it, and not as it is told here. He 
speaks in the Advancement of Learning of ' that window which 
Momus did require, who seeing in the frame of man's heart such 
angles and recesses, found fault there was not a window to look into 
them.' Works, iii. 456. This is the version which Lucian gives in 
the Hermotimus. The rest of the story he omits. Neveletus's 
edition of Aesop appeared between the date of the Advancement of 


Learning and of the third edition of the Essays. Conf. also ' He was 
to sell a piece of land that he had, and gave order to the Crier who 
proclaimed the sale to put in this and cry : That it had besides good 
neighbors neare unto it.' Plutarch, Morals, Apophthegmes of 
Kings, &c., under ' Themistocles.' 

P. 314, 1. n. Lucullus answered} Conf. ' (Lucullus) had also many 
other pleasant places within the territories of Rome near unto Tus- 
culum, where there were great large halls set upon terraces to see 
round about far off in the daytime. And Pompey going thither some 
time to see him, reproved him greatly, telling him that he had built a 
marvellous fair summer-house, but not to be dwelt in in the winter 
season. Lucullus, laughing, answered him, Do ye think me to have 
less wit and reason than storks or cranes, that I cannot shift houses 
according to the season ? ' Plutarch, Lives, p. 534. 

1. 24. the Vatican and Escurial} Both these structures are rather 
remarkable for the number and extent of their very fair rooms. 

P. 316, 1. 12. with a cross, and the quarters &c.] A court, such as 
Bacon describes, may be seen in the great court of Trinity College, 
Cambridge. On the date at which it was laid out Professor Jebb writes 
to me as follows : ' Your sketch corresponds with the general plan 
of the Great Court in Trinity College. In Willis's "Architectural 
History of the University of Cambridge, and of the Colleges of 
Cambridge and Eton " a work completed by J. W. Clark (1886) 
you will find (i) a plan of Trinity College, from Lyne's plan of 
Cambridge (1574), and (2) do. from Hammond's plan of Cambridge 
(1592 ; vol. iii. p. 400 ff.). In neither of these do we see the four 
grass plots. Certain buildings of an older date then projected into 
the quadrangle. But in the " Architectural History " there is also a 
copy of a " Scheme for laying out the Great Court of Trinity College," 
of which the original is preserved in the College Library, and of 
which the date is probably about 1595 (vol. iii. p. 464). And here the 
four grass plots appear. Bacon was then (i. e. in 1595) thirty-four, 
and the plan of the great Court just noticed was carried out by 
Thomas Nevile, Master of the College, from 1593 to 1615. 

' It seems quite possible, then, that, as you suggest, this was the 
" fair court " of which Bacon was thinking.' 




GOD Almighty first planted a garden ; and, indeed, it is 
the purest of human pleasures ; it is the greatest refresh 
ment to the spirits of man ; without which buildings and 
palaces are but gross handy-works : and a man shall ever 
see that, when ages grow to civility & and elegancy, men 
come to build stately sooner than to garden finely; as 
if gardening were the greater perfection. I do hold it, 
in the royal ordering of gardens, there ought to be gardens 
for all the months in the year, in which severally things 
of beauty may be then in season. For December and 10 
January and the latter part of November, you must take 
such things as are green all winter : holly, ivy, bays, 
juniper, cypress-trees, yew, pineapple-trees b , fir-trees, rose 
mary, lavender, periwinkle, the white the purple and the 
blue, germander, flags, orange-trees, lemon-trees, and 
myrtles, if they be stoved c ; and sweet marjoram, warm set d . 
There followeth, for the latter part of January and February, 
the mezereon-tree e which then blossoms ; crocus vernus 
both the yellow and the grey ; primroses, anemones, the 

to civility] i. e. to civilization. Lat. 
secula quum proficiunt in cvlturd. 
Conf. ' Ireland is the last ex filiis 
Europae which hath been reclaimed 
. . . from savage and barbarous customs 
to humanity and civility.' Letters and 
Life, vi. 205. 

b pineapple-trees] i. e. pine-trees. 
Lat. pinus. The pine-apple was a 
common name for what we term the 
pine-cone. Conf. ' The fruits or apples 
of these (the pine-trees) be called in 
Greek KWVOI.' Gerard, Herball. bk. 
iii. cap. 38. The name still survives in 
the French pomme de pin. 

c stoved] i. e. kept in hot-houses. 

Lat. si calidariis conserventur. 

d warm set] Lat, juxta parietem et 
versus solem satus. 

e the mesereon-tree] This must be 
what Lyte terms the Dutch mezereon. 
The other species of mezereon are 
much later in flowering. New Her 
ball. iii. cap. 38. 'The dwarf bay tree, 
called of Dutchmen Mezereon, is a 
small shrub two cubits high. The 
flowers appear before the leaves, oft- 
times in January. It may be called 
the German olive spurge, not much 
unlike to the olive tree in leaf.' 
Gerard, Herball. iii. cap. 63. 



early tulippa f , the hyacinthus orientalis 8 , chamairis h , 
fritellaria. For March, there come violets, especially the 
single blue which are the earliest, the yellow daffodil, the 
daisy, the almond-tree in blossom, the peach-tree in blossom, 
the cornelian-tree 1 in blossom, sweet-briar. In April 
follow the double white violet, the wall-flower, the stock- 
gilliflower, the cowslip, flower-de-luces, and lilies of all 
natures, rosemary-flowers, the tulippa, the double peony, 
the pale daffodil, the French honeysuckle, the cherry-tree 
10 in blossom, the damson and plum-trees in blossom, the 
white thorn in leaf, the lilac-tree. In May and June come 
pinks of all sorts, specially the blush-pink, roses of all 
kinds, except the musk which conies later, honeysuckles, 
strawberries, bugloss, columbine, the French marygold, 
flos Africanus k , cherry-tree in fruit, ribes, figs in fruit, 
raspes l , vine-flowers, lavender in flowers, the sweet saty- 
rian m with the white flower, herba muscaria n , lilium 

1 the early tulippa] Lat. tulipa prae- 
cox, given by Gerard as tulipa praecox 
tota lutea. He always speaks of the 
tulipa, never of the tulip. So too 
Parkinson, who mentions several sorts 
of the Tulipa praecox or the early 
flowering Tulipa. Paradisus Terrestris, 
p. 46 (fol. 1656). 

s hyacinthus orientalis] Gerard 
mentions two species of this, the 
Caeruleus and the Polyanthus, among 
the early flowering sorts, from the end 
of January to April. Herball. bk. i, 
chap. 70. 

b chama'iris] Properly, as in Latin, 
chamaeiris, the name of some species 
of the Flower de Luce, usually of the 
narrow-leafed species. Gerard, Her 
ball. bk. i. chap. 36, and Parkinson, 
Paradisus Terrestris, p. 187. 

1 the cornelian-tree] i. e. the male 
Cornell-tree. Lat. cornus. ' The 
Grecians call it icpavia : the Latins 
cornus : ... in English the Cornell 
tree and the Cornelia tree ; of some, 
long Cherrie and long Cherrie tree.' 
Gerard, Herball. bk. iii. cap. 98. 

h the French marygold, flos Afri- 
canus] The Latin gives Flos Africanus 
simplex et multiplex for these two sorts. 
Gerard includes them under one 
heading as ' The French marigold or 
Flos Africanus,' some species of which 
he terms multiflorus, others simplici 
flore. Herball. bk. ii. 246. 

1 raspes] i.e. raspberries. Lat. baccae 
rubi idaei. 'The raspis is called in 
Greek /Soros iScua : in Latine rubus 
idaeus : ... in English Raspis, Fram 
boise, and Hindberrie.' Gerard, Her 
ball. bk. iii. cap. 2. 

m the sweet satyrian &c.] This may 
be the female Satyrion Royal, which 
Gerard describes as having sometimes 
a white flower, and as smelling like 
elder blossoms. Herball. bk. i. cap. 


n herba muscaria~\ This is the 
Muscari or Musked Grape flower. 
' These plants,' says Gerard, ' may be 
referred unto the Hyacinthus, whereof 
undoubtedly they be kinds.' Herball. 
bk. i. chap. 72. 



convallium, the apple-tree in blossom . In July come 
gilliflowers of all varieties, musk-roses, the lime-tree in 
blossom, early pears, and plums in fruit, ginnitings p , 
codlins q . In August comes plums of all sorts in fruit, 
pears, apricockes r , barberries 8 , filberts, musk-melons, 
monks-hoods of all colours. In September come grapes, 
apples, poppies of all colours, peaches, melocotones *, 
nectarines, cornelians, wardens u , quinces. In October 
and the beginning of November come services, medlars, 
bullaces, roses cut or removed to come late, hollyhocks, 10 
and such like. These particulars are for the climate of 

in blossom] The Latin adds here 
Flos cyaneus, which Gerard terms the 
Blue Bottle, or Corn-flower or cockle. 
He describes several species of it. 
Herball. bk. ii. chap. 240. 

P ginnitings~] ' The geniting apple is 
a very good and pleasant apple.' 
Parkinson, Paradisus, p. 588. Phile 
mon Holland's spelling comes nearer 
to the modern form jenneting. Conf. 
' Pomegranite trees, fig trees, and 
apple trees, live a very short time : 
and of these, the hastie kind, or jenit- 
ings, continue nothing so long as 
those that bear and ripen later.' 
Trans, of Pliny, Nat. Hist. xvi. cap. 
44. The original gives only ' ex his, 
praecocibus brevior quam serotinis 

^ codlins] The only species which 
Parkinson gives under this name is the 
Kentish codlin. He describes it as a 
fair, great, and greenish apple, the 
best to coddle of all other apples, 
p. 588. 

1 apricockes'] This comes close to 
the genuine old spelling. Gerard 
speaks of ' abrecocke, called of some 
aprecocke and aprecox.' The modern 
name apricot, he does not use at all, 
Herball. iii. chap. 95, nor does Parkin 

8 barberries] This is Gerard's spell 
ing. Bacon writes ' berberies ' here, 

and further on, ' beare-berries.' Gerard 
describes the plant as ' full of prickly 
thorns, with berries red when ripe, of 
sour and sharp taste. It's flowers and 
fruit come in September.' Herball. 
iii. cap. 23. This corresponds well with 
the modern barberry, or berberis. 
Conf. also Parkinson, Paradisus Ter- 
restris, p. 561. 

* melocotones'] The Melocotone 
Peach Malus Persica Melocotonea 
is termed by Parkinson ' a yellow fair 
peach,' and is said to ripen early and 
to be better relished than the rest. 
Paradisus Terrestris, p. 580. Or 
Bacon may possibly mean the fruit of 
the Malus Cotonea, which (says 
Gerard) ' is named malum cotoneum, 
in Italian mele cotogne, in English 
quince.' Herball. bk. iii. cap. 97. If 
so, this quince will be what Parkinson 
praises as the Portingal apple quince, 
distinct from and superior to the 
English or ordinary apple quince. 
Paradisus Terrestris, p. 589. He says 
in his Herball (tribe 16, cap. 74) that 
Cato first called it Cotonea Malus and 
Pliny after him. Conf. Pliny, Nat. 
Hist. bk. xv. cap. n. 

u wardens] A species of pear, 
mentioned but not specially described 
by Parkinson, Paradisus Terrestris, 
P- 593- 

Y 2 


London ; but my meaning is perceived, that you may have 
ver perpetuum as the place affords. 

And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the 
air (where it comes and goes like the warbling of music), 
than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that 
delight than to know what be the flowers and plants that do 
best perfume the air. Roses, damask and red, are fast 
flowers x of their smells ; so that you may walk by a whole 
row of them, and find nothing of their sweetness ; yea, 

10 though it be in a morning's dew. Bays likewise yield no 
smell as they grow, rosemary little, nor sweet marjoram ; 
that which above all others yields the sweetest smell in 
the air is the violet, especially the white double violet, 
which comes twice a year, about the middle of April 
and about Bartholomew-tide. Next to that is the musk- 
rose ; then the strawberry-leaves dying, which y a most 
excellent cordial smell ; then the flower of the vines, it 
is a little dust like the dust of a bent z , which grows upon 
the cluster in the first coming forth ; then sweet-briar, 

20 then wallflowers, which are very delightful to be set 
under a parlour or lower chamber window; then pinks 
and gilliflowers, specially the matted pink and clove gilli- 
flower ; then the flowers of the lime-tree ; then the honey 
suckles, so they be somewhat afar off. Of bean-flowers 
I speak not, because they are field-flowers; but those 

x fast flowers of their smells} i. e. not some error in the MS. 

freely giving out. Lat. odoris sui sunt z a bent} The name of several 

tenaces nee aerem tingunt. Conf. ' The grasses and weeds in pasture lands. 

King also being fast-handed and loth to The Pannicke grasse, e. g., is called by 

part with a second dowry, prevailed Gerard ' a bent or feather top grasse.' 

with the Prince to be contracted with Herball. bk. i. cap. 6. Of the cats-tail 

the Princess Katherine.' Works, vi. grasse he says, ' it may in English as 

215. well be called round bent grasse as 

y which} There is no doubt as to cats taile grasse,' chap. 8. The name 

the reading here. The Latin gives is still in popular use for the long 

quae halitum emittunt plane cardiacum. stalked grasses, not fed down by 

The words needed to complete the cattle, which are seen in pasture 

sense have clearly been omitted through lands in the autumn. 


which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by 
as the rest, but being trodden upon and crushed, are 
three ; that is, burnet, wild thyme, and water mints ; there 
fore you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the 
pleasure when you walk or tread. 

For gardens (speaking of those which are indeed prince- 
like, as we have done of buildings), the contents ought 
not well to be under thirty acres of ground, and to be 
divided into three parts ; a green in the entrance, a heath 
or desert in the going forth, and the main garden in the 10 
midst, besides alleys on both sides ; and I like well that 
four acres of ground be assigned to the green, six to 
the heath, four and four to either side, and twelve to the 
main garden. The green hath two pleasures : the one, 
because nothing is more pleasant to the eye than green 
grass kept finely shorn; the other, because it will give 
you a fair alley in the midst, by which you may go in 
front upon a stately hedge which is to enclose the garden : 
but because the alley will be long, and in great heat of the 
year or day you ought not to buy the shade in the garden 20 
by going in the sun through the green ; therefore you are, 
of either side the green, to plant a covert alley upon 
carpenter's work, about twelve foot in height, by which 
you may go in shade into the garden. As for the making 
of knots or figures with divers coloured earths, that they 
may lie under the windows of the house on that side 
which the garden stands, they be but toys ; you may see 
as good sights many times in tarts. The garden is best to 
be square, encompassed on all the four sides with a stately 
arched hedge ; the arches to be upon pillars of carpenter's 3 
work, of some ten foot high and six foot broad, and the 
spaces between of the same dimension with the breadth 
of the arch. Over the arches let there be an entire hedge 
of some four foot high, framed also upon carpenter's work ; 
and upon the upper hedge, over every arch a little turret 


with a belly enough to receive a cage of birds : and over 
every space between the arches some other little figure, 
with broad plates of round coloured glass gilt, for the sun 
to play upon : but this hedge I intend to be raised upon a 
bank, not steep but gently slope, of some six foot, set all 
with flowers. Also I understand, that this square of the 
garden should not be the whole breadth of the ground, 
but to leave on either side ground enough for diversity of 
side alleys, unto which the two covert alleys of the green 

10 may deliver you ; but there must be no alleys with hedges 
at either end of this great enclosure ; not at the hither end, 
for letting a your prospect upon this fair hedge from the 
green ; nor at the further end, for letting your prospect 
from the hedge through the arches upon the heath. 

For the ordering of the ground within the great hedge, 
I leave it to variety of device ; advising nevertheless that 
whatsoever form you cast it into, first it be not too busy, 
or full of work ; wherein I for my part do not like images 
cut out in juniper or other garden stuff; they be for 

20 children. Little low hedges, round, like welts b , with some 
pretty pyramids, I like well; and in some places fair 
columns upon frames of carpenter's work. I would also 
have the alleys spacious and fair. You may have closer 
alleys upon the side grounds, but none in the main garden. 
I wish also, in the very middle, a fair mount with three 
ascents and alleys, enough for four to walk abreast ; which 
I would have to be perfect circles c , without any bulwarks 
or embossments ; and the whole mount to be thirty foot 

* letting] i. e. obstructing. Lat. ne ming of a scholar, a welt or so ; but it 

conspectum impediat. is no more.' Ben Jonson, Discoveries, 

b like welts] i. e. borders or edgings. sub. tit. Differentia inter Doctos et 

Lat. instar fimbriarutn. Conf. ' Now Sciolos. 

there are certain Scioli or Smatterers, c pet-fed circles] These must be 

that are busy in the skirts and outsides understood of the alleys, at different 

of learning, and have scarce anything stages of height, up to which the three 

of solid literature to commend them. ascents are severally to lead. 
They may have some edging or trim- 


3 2 7 

high, and some fine banqueting-house with some chimneys 
neatly cast, and without too much glass. 

For fountains, they are a great beauty and refreshment ; 
but pools mar all and make the garden unwholesome and 
full of flies and frogs. Fountains I intend to be of two 
natures ; the one that sprinkleth or spouteth water : the 
other a fair receipt of water, of some thirty or forty foot 
square, but without fish or slime or mud. For the first, 
the ornaments of images gilt or of marble which are in use 
do well : but the main matter is so to convey the water as 10 
it never stay, either in the bowls or in the cistern, that 
the water be never by rest discoloured, green, or red, or 
the like, or gather any mossiness or putrefaction ; besides 
that, it is to be cleansed every day by the hand : also 
some steps up to it, and some fine pavement about it doth 
well. As for the other kind of fountain, which we may 
call a bathing-pool, it may admit much curiosity and beauty, 
wherewith we will not trouble ourselves : as that the 
bottom be finely paved, and with images ; the sides like 
wise ; and withal embellished with coloured glass and 20 
such things of lustre ; encompassed also with fine rails of 
low statuas; but the main point is the same which we 
mentioned in the former kind of fountain ; which is that 
the water be in perpetual motion, fed by a water higher 
than the pool, and delivered into it by fair spouts and then 
discharged away under ground by some equality of bores, 
that it stay little ; and for fine devices, of arching water 
without spilling, and making it rise in several forms (of 
features, drin king-glasses, canopies, and the like), they 
be pretty things to look on but nothing to health and 30 

For the heath, which was the third part of our plot, 
I wish it to be framed as much as may be to a natural 
wildness. Trees I would have none in it, but some 
thickets made only of sweet-briar and honeysuckle, and 


some wild vine amongst; and the ground set with violets, 
strawberries, and primroses ; for these are sweet, and 
prosper in the shade ; and these to be in the heath here 
and there, not in any order. I like also little heaps, in the 
nature of mole-hills (such as are in wild heaths), to be set, 
some with wild thyme, some with pinks, some with 
germander that gives a good flower to the eye, some with 
periwinkle, some with violets, some with strawberries, 
some with cowslips, some with daisies, some with red 

10 roses, some with lilium convallium, some with sweet- 
williams red, some with bear's-foot, and the like low 
flowers, being withal sweet and sightly; part of which 
heaps to be with standards of little bushes pricked d upon 
their top, and part without: the standards to be roses, 
juniper, holly, barberries (but here and there, because of 
the smell of their blossom), red currants, gooseberries, 
rosemary, bays, sweet-briar, and such like : but these 
standards to be kept with cutting, that they grow not out 
of course. 

20 For the side grounds, you are to fill them with variety 
of alleys, private, to give a full shade ; some of them, 
wheresoever the sun be. You are to frame some of them 
likewise for shelter, that when the wind blows sharp you 
may walk as in a gallery : and those alleys must be likewise 
hedged at both ends, to keep out the wind ; and these 
closer alleys must be ever finely gravelled, and no grass, 
because of going wet. In many of these alleys likewise 
you are to set fruit-trees of all sorts, as well upon the walls 
as in ranges ; and this should be generally observed, that 

30 the borders wherein you plant your fruit-trees be fair and 
large and low and not steep ; and set with fine flowers, 
but thin and sparingly, lest they deceive the trees 6 . At 

d pricked ] i. e. planted. Lat. con- dent arbores. Conf. ' Because the 

sitos. great tree doth deprive and deceive 

deceive the trees] i. e. rob the trees them of sap and nourishment.' Works, 

of nourishment. Lat. ne succo defrau- vii. 86. 


the end of both the side grounds I would have a mount of 
some pretty height, leaving the wall of the enclosure 
breast-high, to look abroad into the fields. 

For the main garden, I do not deny but there should 
be some fair alleys, ranged on both sides, with fruit-trees, 
and some pretty tufts of fruit-trees and arbours with seats, 
set in some decent order ; but these to be by no means 
set too thick, but to leave the main garden so as it be not 
close but the air open and free. For as for shade, I would 
have you rest upon the alleys of the side grounds, there to 10 
walk, if you be disposed, in the heat of the year or day ; 
but to make account that the main garden is for the more 
temperate parts of the year, and in the heat of summer for 
the morning and the evening or overcast days. 

For aviaries, I like them not, except they be of that 
largeness as they may be turfed and have living plants 
and bushes set in them ; that the birds may have more 
scope and natural nestling, and that no foulness appear in 
the floor of the aviary. So I have made a platform f of a 
princely garden, partly by precept, partly by drawing ; not 20 
a model, but some general lines of it ; and in this I have 
spared for no cost : but it is nothing for great princes, that 
for the most part, taking advice with workmen, with no 
less cost set their things together, and sometimes add 
statuas and such things for state and magnificence, but 
nothing to the true pleasure of a garden. 


In this Essay, the spelling of the original text is more than usually 
erratic. We have e. g. ' dazie ' then ' daisies ' : ' wilde time ' then 
' wilde thyme ' : for ' barberries ' we have first ' berberies ' then 
' beare-berries.' For ' currans,' ' filberds,' ' orenge,' ' limon,' and 
' eugh ' for ' yew,' there is good contemporary authority. ' Quadlins ' 

f platform\ i. e. plan or pattern. dignity of knowledge in the arch-type 
Lat. figurant. Conf. ' Let us seek the or first platform.' Works, iii. 295. 


for 'codlins,' 'lelacke* for 'lilac,' or as Gerard spells it 'lillach,' 
and ' hollyokes ' for ' hollihockes,' seem to be mere freaks. ' Dam- 
masin ' for ' damson ' must be a phonetic representation of the old 
' damascene,' or as Gerard spells it ' damascen.' Herball. iii. cap. 126. 
I have generally modernized the spelling, but in one or two instances 
I have thought it better to keep exactly to the original text. 

P. 326, 1. 18. / for my part do not like images cut out in juniper &c.] 
For curious instances of this practice, conf. ' Au XVI e siecle . . . pres 
de Harlem, toute une chasse au cerf etait representee en charmille : 
1'abbe de Clairmarais, dans son jardin de Saint-Omer, avait une 
troupe d'oies, de dindons et de grues, en if et en romarin : 1'abbe des 
Dunes etait garde par des gendarmes de buis.' Larousse, Diet. 
Univ., sub voce jardin. 

P. 329, 1. 18. in the floor of the aviary] The Latin adds here : Quan 
tum vero ad ambulacra in clivis, et variis ascensibus amoenis conficienda, 
ilia naturae dona sunt, nee ubique exstrui possunt: nos autem ea 
posuimus quae omni loco conveniunt* 


IT is generally better to deal by speech than by letter ; 
and by the mediation of a third than by a man's self. 
Letters are good when a man would draw an answer by 
letter back again ; or when it may serve for a man's justifi 
cation afterwards to produce his own letter ; or where it 
may be danger to be interrupted or heard by pieces. To 
deal in person is good when a man's face breedeth regard, 
as commonly with inferiors ; or in tender a cases where a 
man's eye upon the countenance of him with whom he 
10 speaketh may give him a direction how far to go : and 
generally where a man will reserve to himself liberty either 
to disavow or to expound. In choice of instruments, it is 

* tender] Lat. in rebus quas extre- unpleasing it is good to break the ice 
mis tantum digitis tangere convenit. by some whose words are of less 
Conf. ' In things that are tender and weight.' Essay 22, p. 159. 


better to 'choose men of a plainer sort, that are like to do 
that that is committed to them and to report back again 
faithfully the success 1 *, than those that are cunning to 
contrive out of other men's business somewhat to grace 
themselves, and will help the matter in report c , for satis 
faction sake. Use also such persons as affect d the business 
wherein they are employed, for that quickeneth much ; and 
such as are fit for the matter, as bold men for expostulation, 
fair-spoken men for persuasion, crafty men for inquiry and 
observation, froward and absurd 6 men for business that 10 
doth not well bear out itself f . Use also such as have 
been lucky and prevailed before in things wherein you 
have employed them ; for that breeds confidence, and they 
will strive to maintain their prescription. It is better to 
sound a person with whom one deals afar off than to fall 
upon the point at first, except you mean to surprise him 
by some short question. It is better dealing with men in 
appetite g than with those that are where they would be. 
If a man deal h with another upon conditions, the start or 
first performance is all : which a man cannot reasonably 20 
demand, except either the nature of the thing be such 
which must go before : or else a man can persuade the 

b the success] i. e. the result, what 
ever it may be. Conf. ' Such was the 
success of Crassus' enterprise and 
voyage, much like unto the end of a 
tragedy.' Plutarch, Lives, p. 579. 

c will help the matter &c. J i. e. will 
report the result as better than it 
rea'ly is, in order to please their em 
ployer. Lat. qui ea quae referunt 
verbis emollient ut impense placeant. 

d affect} i. e. have a liking for or 
wish success to. Lat. qui negotiofave- 
ant. Conf. ' I take goodness in this 
sense, the affecting the weal of men.' 
Essay 13, and passim. 

e absurd] Probably, rough and rude. 
Vide note on Essay 26, last line. 

' that doth not well &tc.} The Latin 
gives res quae aliquid iniqui habent. 

This need not mean more than busi 
ness which is unsound in some way, 
and so fails to recommend itself. 

8 men in appetite] Lat. qui in am- 
bitu sunt. Ital. quelli che hanno appe- 
tito, et sono in via. So, in Bacon's 
Discourse in praise of Queen Eliza 
beth, he speaks of ' her wonderful art 
in keeping servants in satisfaction and 
yet in appetite.' Letters and Life, i. 
139 ; and 'Rem(ember) to advise the 
K. not to call Serg ts before Parlam*, 
but to keep the lawyers in awe : ' 
i. e. as Mr. Spedding explains the 
passage, in expectation of promotion 
and in fear of forfeiting it. Letters 
and Life, iv. 43. 

h If a man deal &c.] Vide note at 
end of Essay. 


other party that he shall still need him in some other 
thing ; or else that he be counted the honester man. All 
practice * is to discover or to work. Men discover them 
selves in trust, in passion, at unawares, and of necessity, 
when they would have somewhat done and cannot find an 
apt pretext. If you would work any man, you must either 
know his nature and fashions, and so lead him ; or his 
ends, and so persuade him ; or his weakness and disad 
vantages, and so awe him ; or those that have interest in 
10 him, and so govern him. In dealing with cunning persons, 
we must ever consider their ends to interpret their 
speeches; and it is good to say little to them, and that 
which they least look for. In all negotiations of difficulty, 
a man may not look to sow and reap at once ; but must 
prepare business and so ripen it by degrees. 


P. 330, 1. 8. where a man's eye &c.] Conf. ' It is a point of cunning 
to wait upon him with whom you speak with your eye, as the 
Jesuits give it in precept.' Essay 22, p. 158. 

P. 331, 1. 14. better to sound c.] Conf. in Bacon's rules for his own 
guidance : ' Not to fall upon the mayne too soudayne.' Letters and 
Life, iv. 93 ; and for the next clause : ' A sudden bold and unexpected 
question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open.' 
Essay 22. 

1. 19. If a man deal &c.] The obscurity of this passage is due 
very much to the indeterminate use of the pronouns. The Latin, 
whether correct or incorrect, is clear on this point, and it suggests and 
supports, in the concluding paragraph, a sense not obvious in the 
English : ' Si cum alio sub conditione negotieris, prima veluti occu- 
patio aut possessio votorum in praecipuis numeranda : id autem cum 
ratione postulare nequis, nisi aut natura rei talis sit quae praecedere 
debeat ; aut alteri commode insinuare possis ilium opera tua in aliis 
usurum ; aut denique habearis ipse pro homine inprimis integro et 
verace.' The entire passage may, I think, be thus paraphrased : 
If A agree with B to do something upon condition that B does some- 

1 practice] Lat. negociatio. This carries some sense of crafty or under- 
word, common in Bacon's writings, hand dealing. 


thing on his side, the chief matter to be settled is which of the two is 
to be the first to fulfil his part of the engagement. A cannot reason 
ably demand that B shall be the first unless the thing which B is to 
do must necessarily be done first ; or unless he can persuade B that 
even when the thing is done he (A) will still be dependent upon B 
and in need of some other service from him ; or unless (he can 
persuade him that) he (A] is a thoroughly trustworthy man. It will 
be seen that in one clause I have not followed the Latin, but it is a 
clause in which the Latin apparently departs from the English. 
For Bacon's use of a comparative form the honester man where 
no comparison is intended, conf. the introduction to the History of 
King Henry VII : ' I have not flattered him, but took him to life as 
well as I could, sitting so far off, and having no better light,' i. e. no 
very good light. Lat. ' stando tarn procul et luce paulo obscuriore.' 
Works, vi. p. 25. 

So in Essay 44 : 'It is good to consider of deformity not as a sign 
which is more deceivable ; ' Lat. ' quod quandoque fallit ; ' and in 
Essay 34 : 'if he be not the better stablished in years and judgment.' 

P. 332, 1. 4. at unawares} Conf. ' That more trust be given to coun 
tenances and deeds than to words ; and in words rather to sudden 
passages and surprised words than to set and purposed words.' 
Works, iii. 457. 


COSTLY followers are not to be liked ; lest while a man 
maketh his train longer, he make his wings shorter. I 
reckon to be costly, not them alone which charge the 
purse, but which are wearisome and importune a in suits. 
Ordinary followers ought to challenge no higher condi 
tions than countenance, recommendation, and protection 
from wrongs. Factious followers are worse to be liked, 
which follow not upon affection to him with whom they 
range themselves, but upon discontentment conceived 

a importune] i. e. importunate. Lat. important. 


against some other ; whereupon commonly ensueth that 
ill intelligence, that we many times see between great 
personages. Likewise glorious b followers, who make 
themselves as trumpets of the commendation of those they 
follow, are full of inconvenience; for they taint business 
through want of secrecy ; and they export honour from a 
man, and make him a return in envy. There is a kind of 
followers likewise which are dangerous, being indeed 
espials ; which inquire the secrets of the house and bear 

10 tales of them to others ; yet such men many times are in 
great favour ; for they are officious , and commonly ex 
change tales. The following by certain estates d of men 
answerable to that which a great person himself professeth 
(as of soldiers to him that hath been employed in the wars, 
and the like), hath ever been a thing civil e and well taken 
even in monarchies, so it be without too much pomp or 
popularity. But the most honourable kind of following is 
to be followed as one that apprehendeth f to advance virtue 
and desert in all sorts of persons ; and yet, where there is 

20 no eminent odds in sufficiency 8 , it is better to take with 
the more passable than with the more able; and besides, 
to speak truth, in base times active men are of more use 
than virtuous h . It is true that in government it is good to 

b glorious} i.e. boastful. Lat. glori- somewhat ambiguous word, the ed. of 

ost. 1612 reads ' intendeth ' (i. e. makes it 

officious] i. e. forward to do his special object) ' to advance.' Ital. 

offices. come chi ha per oggetto il promovere. 

d estates] i. e. orders or professions. * sufficiency} i. e. ability. 

Lat. clientelae hominum ordinis cujus- h virtuous] If this remark is to link 

ptarn. on to the clause before it, we must 

6 civil} \. e. decent, orderly. Lat. understand virtuous in the sense which 

pro re decora habitum est. Conf. ' The Bacon gives to it elsewhere possessed 

times inclined to atheism, as the time of eminent qualities of any kind, 

of Augustus Caesar, were civil times.' Conf. < Those that are first raised to 

Essay 17. But conf. note on Essay 29, nobility are commonly more virtuous 

p. 220, 1. 14. but less innocent than their descen- 

f apprehendeth to advance} i.e. prob- dants.' Essay 14. The 'virtuous' 

ably, takes on himself, assumes, the therefore will be the same as the 

office of advancing. Lat. ut quis patro- ' more able ' of the previous clause ; 

num se profiteatur. Instead of this while the < more passable ' men may 



use men of one rank equally : for to countenance some 
extraordinarily is to make them insolent and the rest dis 
content; because they may claim a due 1 : but contrariwise 
in favour to use men with much difference and election is 
good ; for it maketh the persons preferred more thankful, 
and the rest more officious : because all is of favour. It is 
good discretion not to make too much of any man at the 
first ; because one cannot hold out that proportion. To be 
governed (as we call it) by one is not safe; for it shows 
softness, and gives a freedom to scandal and disreputation ; 10 
for those that would not censure or speak ill of a man 
immediately, will talk more boldly of those that are so 
great with them, and thereby wound their honour ; yet to 
be distracted with many is worse ; for it makes men to be 
of the last impression k , and full of change. To take advice 
of some few friends is ever honourable ; for lookers-on 
many times see more than gamesters ; and the vale best dis- 
covereth the hill. There is little friendship in the world, 
and least of all between equals, which was wont to be 
magnified. That that is is between superior and inferior, ao 
whose fortunes may comprehend l the one the other. 

be credited with the greater activity. 
The Latin, however, interprets the 
remark independently of the context : 
homines industrii et satagentes usui 
magis sunt quant vera virtute praediti. 
It does not occur in the edition of 
1612, so that there is no help to be 
got from the French or Italian version. 

1 because they may claim a due} This 
is obscure from over-compression. The 
Latin gives, more fully, quando- 
quidem ordinis paritas aequas gratiae 
conditiones tanquam ex debito poscit. 

k of the last impression] i. e. makes 
them bear from time to time the im 
press, whatever it is, which happens 
to have been last put upon them. The 
Latin gives a curious twist to the 
metaphor : reddet postremae (ut nunc 

loquuntur) editionis. Conf. ' A man 
shall meet with in every day's con 
ference the denominations of sensitive, 
dry, formal, real, humorous, certain, 
huomo di prima impressione, huomo di 
ultima impressione, and the like.' 
Works, iii. 435. The distinction in- 
tended clearly is between the man 
who retains unchanged the first im 
pression he happens to have received, 
and the man who takes each new im 
pression in its turn, and retains it only 
until a later impression obliterates it 
and takes its place. 

1 may comprehend] i. e. may include 
since the good or bad fortune of the 
superior will have its effect to the 
advantage or to the disadvantage of 
his inferior friend. 



P. 334, 1. 9. which inquire the secrets of the house] So Juvenal, of 
the ways of the Greeks at Rome : ' Scire volunt secreta domus, atque 
inde timer!.' Sat. iii. 113. 

1. 22. in base times &c.] On the failure of ability in ' base times ' 
and on the advantage which the more active enjoy (and may conse 
quently confer on their patrons), conf. Thucydides on the state of 
things during intestine quarrels in Greece : Kal 01 <avXorepoi yvw/xqj* 
uts TO. TrXcici TTfpieyiyvovro' T<O yap Bfbievai TO re avrmv (v8f(s Kal TO T>V 
fvavriatv vi>eTov, p,f) \6yois re rjacrovs ttxri Kal fK TOV Tro\VTp6nov UVTOIV TJ/S 
yvafjirjs <p0d(ra>(ri TrpofTTtftovhevofievoi., TO\fj.T)pS>s Trpbs TO. epya e\a)povv. Ot 8e 
KaTa(ppovovvT(s K.O.V Trpoai(r6fO~dai, Kal epya> ovftev cr(pas ftflv \a[i^dv(iv a yva>p.rj 
e(;rTiv, a(f)paKTOi p.aX\ov 8ie(J)6ftpovTO. Bk. iii. cap. 83. 

P. 335, 1. 17. the vale best &c.] This enigmatical saying is explained 
in the De Augmentis Scientiarum as ' Proverbium quoddam magis 
audaculum quam sanum, de censura vulgi circa actiones principum, 
stantem in valle optime perlustrare montem! Works, i. 727. 

Dr. Abbott finds its origin in a passage in Machiavelli's dedication 
of his ' Prince ' to Lorenzo de Medici : ' Cosi come coloro che diseg- 
nano i paesi si pongono bassi nel piano a considerare la natura 
de' monti e de' luoghi alti, .... similmente a conoscere bene la 
natura . . . . de' principi bisogna esser popolare.' 

1. 19. which was wont &C.] Erne re TTpwros (6 UvBayopas) . . . (pi\iav 

to-orjjTa. Diog. Laert. bk. viii. sec. 10. 

So Aristotle quotes and endorses the proverb HTOTIJS 
Eth. Nicom. ix. cap. 8. 


MANY ill matters and projects are undertaken a ; and 
private suits do putrefy the public good. Many good 

are undertaken] i. e. are taken up, purpose to let them fall,' and conf. ' A 

or as he afterwards says, ' embraced,' speech by Sir Francis Bacon in the 

not by the original projector but by Lower House about the Undertakers, 

the patron or great man to whom the who were thought to be some able 

projector applies for help. Vide infra, "-and forward gentlemen, who were 

'some undertake suits with a full said to have undertaken that the 



matters are undertaken with bad minds ; I mean not only 
corrupt minds, but crafty minds, that intend not perform 
ance. Some embrace suits which never mean to deal 
effectually in them ; but if they see there may be life in the 
matter by some other mean b , they will be content to win 
a thank , or take a second reward d , or at least to make 
use in the mean time of the suitor's hopes. Some take 
hold of suits only for an occasion to cross some other, or 
to make an information e , whereof they could not otherwise 
have apt pretext, without care what become of the suit 10 
when that turn is served; or generally, to make other 
men's business a kind of entertainment to bring in their 
own : nay, some undertake suits with a full purpose to let 
them fall; to the end to gratify the adverse party or 
competitor. Surely there is in some sort a right in every 
suit ; either a right of equity if it be a suit of controversy, 
or a right of desert if it be a suit of petition. If affection 
lead a man to favour the wrong side in justice, let him 
rather use his countenance to compound the matter than 
to carry it. If affection lead a man to favour the less 20 
worthy in desert, let him do it without depraving or dis- 

King's business should pass in that 
House as his majesty could wish.' 
Letters and Life, v. 42 ff. Bacon had 
been in communication with the King 
about their proposals. The object of 
his speech was to ' do the part of an 
honest voice in this House,' or, in 
other words, to convince the Parlia 
ment that no such persons existed and 
that no such proposals had been made. 

b some other mean] This word 
occurs in the singular in several other 
places. Conf. e. g. ' It is the soloe- 
cism of power to think to command 
the end and yet not to endure the 
mean.' Essay 19. 

a thank] For this singular, conf. 
' I have no thank for all my good 
deeds.' Ecclus. xx. 16. 

d a second reward] i. e. a secondary, 

inferior, incidental gain, apart from 
what they might receive from the 
success of the project. Lat. mercedem 
aliquant secundariam captabunt. Conf. 
' For their second nobles, there is not 
much danger from them.' Essay 19. 
And, ' Those that are seconds in 
factions do many times, when the 
faction subdivideth, prove principals.' 
Essay 51. 

e to make an information &c.] i. e. 
probably, to gain information about 
some matter which they could not 
otherwise find an apt pretext for 
inquiring about. Lat. ut aliquid obiter 
deferant et informent, cujus alias prae- 
textum idoneum parare non potuerint. 
To make = to gain, is in common use 
still, in the phrase e. g. to make 


abling f the better deserver. In suits which a man doth 
not well understand, it is good to refer them to some 
friend of trust and judgment, that may report whether he 
may deal in them with honour : but let him choose well 
his referendaries 8 , for else he may be led by the nose. 
Suitors are so distasted h with delays and abuses that plain 
dealing in denying to deal in suits at first, and reporting 
the success 1 barely, and in challenging no more thanks 
than one hath deserved, is grown not only honourable but 

jo also gracious k . In suits of favour 1 , the first coming ought 
to take little place ; so far forth consideration may be had 
of his trust, that if intelligence of the matter could not 
otherwise have been had but by him, advantage be not 
taken of the note, but the party left to his other means, 
and in some sort recompensed for his discovery. To be 
ignorant of the value of a suit is simplicity; as well as to 
be ignorant of the right thereof is want of conscience. 
Secrecy in suits is a great mean of obtaining ; for voicing 
them to be in forwardness may discourage some kind of 

20 suitors, but doth quicken and awake others : but timing of 

f without depraving or disabling] i. e. necessarily favourable. Conf. ' All 

without speaking ill of or depreciating. men know what lamentable success 

Lat. abstineat saltern ab omni calumnia these two French kings found.' 

et maledicentia. Conf. ' What ? a Ralegh, Hist, of World, bk. iv. chap, 

thread-bare rascal ! a beggar ! . . . and 2, sec. 3. 

he to deprave and abuse the virtue of k gracious] i. e. agreeable or (as 

an herb so generally received in the above) ' acceptable to suitors.' Lat. 

courts of princes.' Every Man in His gratiosa. 

Humour, iii. sc. 7. ' Scientiam dissimu- * In suits of favour] These do not 

lando simulavit : for he used to disable appear to differ from what are termed 

his knowledge to the intent to enhance above suits of petition. The grammar 

his knowledge.' Works, iii. 388. of the sentence is somewhat obscure. 

* his referendaries'] i. e. the persons ' His trust ' introduces a pronoun with 

to whom he refers the matter, as the no antecedent noun. The noun must 

context clearly shews. be found below, ' the party,' or sup- 

h distasted} i.e. disgusted, offended. plied from the words just above, 'the 

Conf. ' Those that find themselves first coming,' implying a first comer, 

obnoxious to Parliament will do all For a like irregularity of construction, 

they can that those things which are conf. ' The experience of age, in 

likest to distaste the King be first things that fall within the compass of 

handled.' Letters and Life, vii. 444. it, directeth them.' Essay 42. 

1 the success'] i. e. the result, not 



the suit is the principal ; timing I say not only in respect 
of the person that should grant it, but in respect of those 
which are like to cross it. Let a man, in the choice of his 
mean m , rather choose the fittest mean than the greatest 
mean; and rather them that deal in certain things than 
those that are general. The reparation of a denial 11 is 
sometimes equal to the first grant, if a man show himself 
neither dejected nor discontented. Iniquum petas, ut 
aequum feras is a good rule where a man hath strength of 
favour : but otherwise a man were better rise in his suit ; 10 
for he that would have ventured at first to have lost the 
suitor, will not in the conclusion lose both the suitor and 
his own former favour. Nothing is thought so easy a 
request to a great person as his letter ; and yet, if it be not 
in a good cause, it is so much out of his reputation. There 
are no worse instruments than these general contrivers of 
suits ; for they are but a kind of poison and infection to 
public proceedings. 


The remarks in this Essay apply almost entirely to the persons 
who are asked to forward suits not to the ultimate authority with 
whom the decision of the matter will rest, but to the patron or under 
taker or go-between to whom the suitor appeals to help him or to say 
a good word for him. Villiers, when he became James' first favourite, 
was so placed that suitors of all kinds would seek his help to gain 
them a favourable hearing from the King. ' No man thinks his 
business can prosper at Court, unless he hath you for his good 
angel, or at least that you be not a Mains Genius against him.' 

m choice of his mean] i. e. of his 
patron or go-between. Lat. cui peti- 
tionis tuae curant demandes. 

11 reparation of a denial^ This is 
very obscure. The Latin gives 
denegatae petitionis iteratio concessions 
ipsi quandoque aequipollet. I take the 
passage therefore to mean, that if a 
suitor, or suitor's friend, whose request 
has been previously denied, presses it 

afresh, and keeps a pleasant and 
cheerful face, he may succeed at last 
in obtaining what he asks, and the 
matter may thus proceed in the end as 
if he had been successful at first. It 
is clearly the suitor or the go-between, 
and not the person with whom the 
final decision rests, by whom the 
' reparation ' is to be made. 

Z 2 


Letters and Life, vi. 15. We find, accordingly, in Bacon's Advice to 
Villiers, many of the rules laid down in the Essay. Conf. pp. 28, 29, 
30, which make clear the general drift of the Essay, and the kind of 
position held by the persons to whom its advice mainly refers. 

P. 337, 1. 16. suit of controversy] This might be e. g. a chancery 
suit or claim at law, one of the parties in which sought help from his 
patron to influence the judge's decision. Such interference with the 
course of justice was not uncommon. Bacon carefully warns Villiers 
against it : ' By no means be you persuaded to interpose yourself, by 
word or letter, in any cause depending, or like to be depending, in 
any court of justice, nor suffer any man to do it where you can hinder 
it : and by all means dissuade the King himself from it, upon the 
importunity of any either for their friends or themselves.' Letters and 
Life, vi. 33. The warning was not taken. We have frequent instances 
of this kind of interposition on Villiers' part while Bacon held the 
Great Seal, pp. 273, 274. Conf. especially Mr. Heath's remarks ' on 
the interference of Buckingham in the case of Dr. Steward.' Vol. 
vii. pp. 579-588. 

1. 17. suit q/ petition] e.g. for help towards obtaining some office 
for which there were other competitors in the field. Conf. Bacon's 
appeal to the then Lord Keeper to help him in his suit for the 
Solicitor-Generalship, in which the kind of ' right ' spoken of in the 
Essay is pleaded in express terms : ' But now I desire no more favour 
of your Lordship than I would if I were a suitor in the Chancery, 
which is this only, that you would do me right.' Letters and Life, 

i- 365- 

P. 338, 1. 6. plain dealing &c.] Conf. Advice to Villiers : ' Believe it, 
Sir, next to the obtaining of the suit, a speedy and gentle denial (when 
the case will not bear it) is the most acceptable to suitors.' Letters 
and Life, vi. 29. And, ' Pars beneficii est quod petitur si bene negas.' 
Publius Syrus, Fragm. 89. 

P. 339, 1. 8. Iniquum petas &c.] ' Iniquum petendum, ut aequum 
feras.' Quintilian, De Instit. Orat. iv. cap. 5, sec. 16. 

1. ii. for he that would have ventured &c.] Bacon in effect urges 
this argument in one of his early letters to Lord Burleigh : ' The 
amendment of state or countenance which I have received hath been 
from your Lordship. And therefore if your Lordship shall stand a 
good friend to your poor ally, you shall but proceed tuendo opus pro- 
prium which you have begun.' Letters and Life, i. 362. So, too, in a 
letter of request in the course of his canvass for the Solicitorship, 
written to Lord Keeper Puckering : ' Hereunto if there shall be joined 
your Lordship's obligation in dealing strongly for me as you have 
begun, no man can be more yours.' Ib. p. 293. 

1. 16. no worse instruments c.] These ' general contrivers of suits ' 
must stand here for the would-be patentees or monopolists and their 


undertakers, of whom he says in his Advice to Villiers : ' Especially 
care must be taken that monopolies (which are the canker of all 
trades) be by no means admitted under the pretence or the specious 
colour of the public good.' Letters and Life, vi. 49. As for the mis 
chief caused by the too free granting of monopolies in James' time, 
conf. e. g. ' For proclamations and patents, they are now become 
so ordinary that there is no end, every day bringing forth some new 
project or other. In truth the world doth even groan under the 
burden of these perpetual patents.' Chamberlain to Carleton, July 8, 
1620. 'The Parliament (of 1621) began to sit, whose bearing was 
dutiful to the King, but quick and minatory against some vile persons, 
who had spoil'd the people by illegal oppressions. These were 
Canker-worms, Harpies, Projectors who, between the easiness of the 
Lord Marquis to procure and the readiness of the Lord Chancellor 
Bacon to comply, had obtain'd Patent Commissions for latent 
knaveries.' Racket's Life of Abp. Williams, Part I, p. 49. Conf. also 
Letters and Life, vii. 183 ff. 


STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. 
Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring ; 
for ornament is in discourse ; and for ability is in the judg 
ment and disposition of business ; for expert men can exe 
cute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one : but 
the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of 
affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend 
too much time in studies is sloth ; to use them too much 
for ornament is affectation ; to make judgment wholly by 
their rules is the humour of a scholar: they perfect nature, 10 
and are perfected by experience : for natural abilities are 
like natural plants, that need proyning a by study ; and 

* need proyning] i. e. cultivating. To proyn or proin is the old form of 
Lat. culturam etfalcis artem desiderant. to prune or to preen, a form, says 

342 ESSAY L. 

studies themselves do give forth directions too much at 
large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty 
men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise 
men use them ; for they teach not their own use ; but that 
is a wisdom without them and above them, won by obser 
vation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe 
and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to 
weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others 
to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested ; 

10 that is, some books are to be read only in parts ; others to 
be read but not curiously b , and some few to be read 
wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books 
also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them 
by others ; but that would be only in the less important 
arguments and the meaner sort of books ; else distilled 
books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. 
Reading maketh a full man ; conference a ready man ; and 
writing an exact man ; and therefore, if a man write little 
he had need have a great memory ; if he confer little he 

20 had need have a present wit ; and if he read little he had 
need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth 
not. Histories make men wise ; poets, witty ; the mathe 
matics, subtile ; natural philosophy, deep ; moral, grave ; 
logic and rhetoric, able to contend: Abeunt studio, in 
mores ; nay, there is no stond or impediment 3 in the wit 
but may be wrought out by fit studies : like as diseases of 
the body may have appropriate exercises ; bowling is good 
for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, 

Nares, Glossary, 'very little used in ful and minute attention. Lat. non 

the age of Elizabeth, but common multum temporis in iisdem evolvendis 

before 'that time.' The old spelling insumendum. 

has been preserved in the text, because c witty} Lat. ingeniosos. 

the word is here used in the old sense d stond or impediment} The Latin 

= to tend, or cultivate, a sense not gives intpedimentum aliquod insitum 

given by either the modern prune or ant naturale as the equivalent of both 

preen. these words. 
b not curiously] i. e. not with care- 


gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head, and 
the like ; so if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the 
mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called 
away never so little, he must begin again ; if his wit be not 
apt to distinguish or find differences let him study the 
schoolmen ; for they are Cymini sedores. If he be not apt 
to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove 
and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases : so 
every defect of the mind may have a special receipt. 


Some cautions and recommendations on this subject are given in 
a discourse touching helps for the intellectual powers. Works, vii. 
102. They are nearly the same as those in the Essay and in parts of 
Essay 38. 

P. 341, 1. 4. expert men can &c.] This whole subject the advan 
tages and disadvantages of learning, and the reasons that have laid 
men of learning open to censure and discredit is handled at length 
in the Advancement of Learning. Works, iii. 264-282. 

P. 342, 1. 4. they teach not their own use &c.] Conf. ' Quae unquam 
ars docuit tempestivum artis usum ? ' Works, i. 698. And, ' Philoso- 
phantes his diebus, quando dicitur eis quod sciant perspectivam, aut 
geometriam, aut linguas et alia multa, quaerunt cum derisione " Quid 
valent haec ? " asserentes quod inutilia sunt. . . . Utilitas enim illarum 
non traditur in eis, sed exterius expectatur.' R. Bacon, Opus ter- 
tium, cap. 6. 

1. 16. common distilled waters] Conf. ' I would have her (the 
English house-wife) furnish herself of very good stills, for the distilla 
tion of all kinds of waters, which stills would either be of tinne or 
sweet earth, and in them she shall distill all sorts of waters meet for 
the health of her household, as Sage -water which is good for all 
rhumes and colics ; Radish-water which is good for the stone ; 
Angelica-water good for infection . . . and a world of others, any of 
which will last a full year at the least.' Gervase Markham, Country 
Contentments, bk. ii. The English Hus-wife, p. 79 (London, 1615). 

1. 22. poets witty] Bacon writes more fully and more adequately 
on poetry in the Advancement of Learning, but he dismisses the 
subject finally with a touch of contempt : ' It is not good to stay too 
long in the theatre.' Works, iii. 343 ff. On his right thus to judge, 
and on the knowledge on which his judgment was based, conf. 

3 44 ESSAY L. 

'Dramatica autem Poesis, quae theatrum habet pro mundo, usu 
eximia est, si sana foret. Non parva enim esse posset theatri et 
disciplina et corruptela. Atque corruptelarum in hoc genere abunde 
est : disciplina plane nostris temporibus est neglecta. Attamen licet 
in rebuspublicis modernis habeatur pro re ludicra actio theatralis, 
nisi forte nimium trahat e satira et mordeat,' &c. Works, i. 519. This 
will hardly pass as an adequate criticism on e. g. Hamlet, Macbeth, 
Othello. The epithet which Bacon chooses in the Essay is that 
which Dryden assigns and enlarges upon as proper to the poet 
himself. Conf. ' The composition of all poems is, or ought to be, of 
wit ; and wit in the poet, or wit-writing (if you will give me leave to 
use a school-distinction) is no other than the faculty of imagination 
in the writer, which, like a nimble spaniel, beats over and ranges 
through the field of memory 'till it springs the quarry it hunted after ; 
or, without metaphor, which searches over all the memory for the 
species or ideas of those things which it designs to represent. Wit 
written is that which is well defined, the happy result of thought or 
product of imagination.' Dryden, Letter to Sir R. Howard, prefixed 
to the Annus Mirabilis. 

1. 24. ;Abeunt studio, in mores] Ovid, Heroides, xv. 83. 

P. 343, 1. 6. Cymini sectores] This phrase, ' cymini sector,' does not 
bear the sense which Bacon persistently puts upon it, in the text and 
elsewhere. It means a niggard. Conf. e.g. Tovrav Se *at 6 Kvpivo-n pianos 

Ka\ nas 6 TOIOVTOS' o)v6p,acTTai 8' dirb TTJS vnfpf3o\f)s TOV fiydevl av Sovvai. Eth. 

Nicom. iv. i. And, 

KaXXiov, 2> VtyieXijra (piXdpyupe, TOV (jtaKav fyeiv' 
MJ) 'mrafqjf rav x f * l P a Karairp'uav TO Kvpivov. 

Theocr. x. 54, 55. 

' Cymini sector ' (Ku/uroTrpioT^s) was certainly a name of reproach given 
to Antoninus Pius. Bacon finds its origin in the Emperor's ' patience 
and settled spirit to enter into the least and most exact differences ol 
causes.' Works, iii. 305. ' Antoninus subtilis et quasi scholasticus, 
unde etiam Cymini sector vocatus est.' i. 472. This is probably 
based on a misinterpretation of the habit of d/cpi/3oXoyia, which Dion 
Cassius ascribes to Antoninus odev avrbv ol (TKanrrovrts KOI npnoirp&mp> 
(K<i\ow. Bk. Ixx. 3. It was, of course, the minute care of Antoninus 
about the expenditure of public money which exposed him to this 
sneer from the disappointed courtiers and would-be parasites who 
would have found their advantage in the profuse ways of a less con 
scientious public steward. Conf. ' Provinciae sub eo cunctae florue- 
runt: quadruplatores extincti sunt. . . . Salaria multis subtraxit, 
quos otiosos videbat accipere, dicens Nihil esse sordidius, immo 
crudelius, quam si rempublicam is arroderet qui nihil in earn suo 
labore conferret.' Julius Capitolinus, Life of Antoninus Pius, sec. 7. 



MANY have an opinion not wise, that for a prince to 
govern his estate or for a great person to govern his pro 
ceedings according to the respect of factions, is a principal 
part of policy ; whereas, contrariwise, the chiefest wisdom 
is, either in ordering those things which are general, and 
wherein men of several a factions do nevertheless agree, or 
in dealing with correspondence to particular persons, one 
by one. But I say not that the consideration of factions is 
to be neglected. Mean men in their rising must adhere ; 
but great men, that have strength in themselves, were 10 
better to maintain themselves indifferent and neutral : yet 
even in beginners, to adhere so moderately as he be a man 
of the one faction which is most passable with the other 
commonly giveth best way b . The lower and weaker faction 
is the firmer in conjunction ; and it is often seen that a few 
that are stiff do tire out a greater number that are more 
moderate. When one of the factions is extinguished, the 
remaining subdivideth; as the faction between Lucullus 
and the rest of the nobles of the senate (which they called 
optimates] held out a while against the faction of Pompey 20 
and Caesar; but when the senate's authority was pulled 
down, Caesar and Pompey soon after brake. The faction 
or party of Antonius and Octavianus Caesar, against Brutus 
and Cassius, held out likewise for a time ; but when Brutus 
and Cassius were overthrown, then soon after Antonius 
and Octavianus brake and subdivided. These examples 
are of wars, but the same holdeth in private factions : and 
therefore, those that are seconds 6 in factions do many 

* several] i. e. distinct or different. b giveth best way] Lat. viam quan- 

Lat. diversarurn. Conf. ' Habits and dam sternit ad honores. 

faculties several and to be distin- c seconds] i. e. inferiors, 
guished.' Essay 6. 

346 ESSAY LI. 

times, when the faction subdivideth, prove principals ; but 
many times also they prove ciphers and cashiered ; for 
many a man's strength is in opposition ; and when that 
faileth, he groweth out of use. It is commonly seen that 
men once placed take in with the contrary faction to that 
by which they enter ; thinking, belike, that they have the 
first sure, and now are ready for a new purchase d . The 
traitor in faction lightly goeth away with it e ; for when 
matters have stuck long in balancing, the winning of some 
10 one man casteth them f , and he getteth all the thanks. The 
even carriage between two factions proceedeth not always 
of moderation, but of a trueness to a man's self, with end 
to make use of both. Certainly, in Italy they hold it a 
little suspect in popes, when they have often in their 
mouth Padre commune; and take it to be a sign of one that 
meaneth to refer all to the greatness of his own house. 
Kings had need beware how they side themselves 8 , and 
make themselves as of a faction or party; for leagues 
within the state are ever pernicious to monarchies ; for 
20 they raise an obligation paramount to obligation of sove 
reignty, and make the king tanquam unus ex nobis; as was 
to be seen in the League of France. When factions are 
carried too high and too violently, it is a sign of weakness 

d a new purchase] i. e. a new ac- ' Short summers lightly have a for- 

quisition. Lat. ad amicos novos con- ward spring.' 

ciliandos. Conf. ' The purchases of our Richard III, act iii. sc. i. 

own industry are joined commonly The indefinite use of 'it,' referringto no 

with labour and strife.' Works, vii. 89, noun, is too common to need illustration, 

and passim. f casteth them] i. e. makes one of the 

6 lightly goeth away with if] i. e. scales to incline. Conf. ' How much 

usually comes off the gainer. Lat. interest casts the balance in cases 

plerumque rem obtinet. French facile- dubious, I could give sundry instances.' 

ment emporte le prix. For lightly, South, Sermon on Matth. x. 33. 

conf. ' The great thieves of a state are e how they side themselves'} i. e. how 

lightly the officers of the crown.' Ben they take sides. Lat. cavendum est ne 

Jonson, Discoveries, under heading factioni alicui se ex pi-ofesso adjungant. 

Fures Publici. < Lightly some place Conf. ' If there be factions, it is good 

will be found that is defended very to side a man's self whilst he is in the 

weakly.' Ralegh, Hist, of World, bk. rising, and to balance himself when he 

iv. chap. 2, sec. 3. is placed.' Essay n. 


in princes, and much to the prejudice both of their au 
thority and business. The motions of factions under kings 
ought to be like the motions (as the astronomers speak) of 
the inferior orbs, which may have their proper motions, 
but yet still are quietly carried by the higher motion of 
primum mobile. 


P. 345, 1. 9. Mean men in their rising must adhere] Conf. ' Duo igitur 
cum sint ascendendi in republica modi .... Alter ut in eodem 
genere magno viro adhaereamus, medicus medico, dux duci, civis 
civi.' Cardan, De Sapientia, p. 153 (ed. 1543, 4.) 

P. 346, 1. 12. end to make use of both~\ Conf. ' He (King James) 
tutored his son, the Prince, that he should not take part with a faction 
in either House, but so reserve himself that both sides might seek 
him.' Hacket, Life of Abp. Williams, Part I. 190. 

1. 17. Kings had need beware &c.] ' Howbeit, that sometimes it 
happeneth the sovereigne prince to make himself a party instead of 
holding the place of a sovereigne Judge : in which doing for all that 
he shall be no more but the head of one party, and so undoubtedly 
put himself in danger of his life, and that especially when such 
dangerous seditions and factions be not grounded upon matters 
directly touching his estate.' Bodin, Commonweal, iv. cap. 7. 

1. 21. tanquam unus ex nobis.] Genesis iii. 22. The Vulgate gives 
' Ecce Adam quasi unus ex nobis factus est.' But this text speaks of 
an inferior raised to an equality with those above him, not of a 
superior brought down to the level of those under him. 

1. 22. in the League of France} Conf. note on Essay 15, p. 104. 

P. 347, 1. 3. motions of the inferior orbs] Conf. note on Essay 15, 
p. 104. 


HE that is only real had need have exceeding great 
parts of virtue ; as the stone had need to be rich that is 
set without foil a ; but if a man mark it well, it is in praise 

foil'] i. e. a thin leaf of metal ornamento omm, does not express this, 
placed under the stone to improve its and spoils the metaphor, 
colour and lustre. The Latin, sine 


and commendation of men as it is in gettings and gains : 
for the proverb is true, That light gains make heavy purses ; 
for light gains come thick, whereas great come but now 
and then : so it is true that small matters win great com 
mendation, because they are continually in use and in 
note : whereas the occasion of any great virtue cometh 
but on festivals b . Therefore it doth much add to a man's 
reputation, and is (as Queen Isabella said) like perpetual 
letters commendatory, to have good forms ; to attain them, 

10 it almost sufficeth not to despise them ; for so shall a man 
observe them in others; and let him trust himself with the 
rest ; for if he labour too much to express them he shall 
lose their grace, which is to be natural and unaffected. 
Some men's behaviour is like a verse, wherein every 
syllable is measured; how can a man comprehend great 
matters that breaketh c his mind too much to small observa 
tions? Not to use ceremonies at all is to teach others 
not to use them again ; and so diminisheth respect to him 
self; especially they be not to be omitted to strangers 

20 and formal natures; but the dwelling upon them, and 
exalting them above the moon, is not only tedious, but 
doth diminish the faith and credit of him that speaks ; and 
certainly, there is a kind of conveying of effectual and 
imprinting passages d amongst compliments, which is of 
singular use if a man can hit upon it. Amongst a man's 
peers a man shall be sure of familiarity; and therefore it is 
good a little to keep state ; amongst a man's inferiors one 
shall be sure of reverence ; and therefore it is good a little 
to be familiar. He that is too much in anything, so that 

30 he giveth another occasion of satiety, maketh himself 
cheap. To apply one's self 6 to others is good; so it be 

b on festivals] Lat. raro admodum. him to whom they are addressed. 

c breaketh'} i. e. subdues, forces his Lat. qui homines revera inescat. 

mind to submit. Lat. se submittit. <> to apply one's self to &c.j The exact 

d imprinting passages'] i. e. passages sense of this phrase, and the limits 

that imprint themselves on the mind of within which the practice may be 


with demonstration that a man doth it upon regard f , and 
not upon facility. It is a good precept, generally in 
seconding another, yet to add somewhat of one's own : as 
if you will grant his opinion, let it be with some distinction ; 
if you will follow his motion, let it be with condition ; if 
you allow g his counsel, let it be with alleging further 
reason. Men had need beware how they be too perfect 
in compliments ; for be they never so sufficient otherwise, 
their enviers will be sure to give them that attribute, to 
the disadvantage of their greater virtues. It is loss also 10 
in business to be too full of respects h , or to be too curious 
in observing times and opportunities. Salomon saith, He 
that considereth the wind shall not sow, and he that looketh to 
the clouds shall not reap. A wise man will make more 
opportunities than he finds. Men's behaviour should be 
like their apparel, not too strait or point device *, but free 
for exercise or motion. 

pronounced 'good/ are shewn clearly 
by a passage in the Adv. of Learning. 
' Another fault incident commonly to 
learned men ... is that they fail some 
times in applying themselves to parti 
cular persons,' a phrase presently ex 
plained as = ' dwelling in the exquisite 
observation or examination of the nature 
and customs of one person,' with the 
intention inter alia ' to understand him 
sufficiently whereby not to give him 
offence.' Works, iii. p. 279. 

f upon regard] i.e. through a per 
sonal regard (real or affected), and not 
through mere softness of nature and a 
general desire to please. 

allow'] i. e. approve, so passim. 

h to be too full of respects] Lat. si 
quis formulas nimium qffectet. 

1 point device} i. e. very precisely 
fashioned. Lat. nimis concinni. The 
phrase, whatever its origin, is used 
elsewhere in the same sense as in the 
Essay. Conf. 

' Her nose was wrought at point 

For it 'was gentyl and tretys.' 

Romaunt of the Rose, 1. 1215. 
'Then your hose should be un- 
gartered, your bonnet unbanded, your 
sleeve unbuttoned, your shoe untied, 
and every thing about you demonstrat 
ing a careless desolation. But you 
are no such man ; you are rather 
point device in your accoutrements.' 
As You Like It, iii. 2. We find device 
(or devise) used adjectivally = precise, 
exact, in a passage in the Coventry 
Mysteries : 

' Better it is to telle the trewthe 

Than God for to greve and of him 

be gramyd.' 

Trial of Joseph and Mary, p. 141 (ed. 
of 1841, printed for the Shakespeare 
Society). So too in Ben Jonson, if the 
conjectural reading is accepted : 
' KASTRIL. You will not come then? 

punk devise, my suster ! 
ANANIAS. Call her not sister : 
She's a harlot verily.' Alchemist, v. 3. 



P. 348, 1. 8. as Queen Isabella said &c.] Lat. Isabella regina Cas- 
tiliana. Conf. ' La reyna dona Ysabel dezia, que el, que tenia buen 
gesto, llevava carta de recomendacion.' Tuningius, Apophthegmata 
(ed. 1609) ; Hispanica, p. 65. The Apophthegmata are in five lan 
guages, each separately paged. 

Bacon, it will be seen, has changed the saying to suit the subject of 
his Essay. ' Buen gesto ' is not ' good forms,' but ' good looks.' So in 
terpreted, it is of much earlier date. Conf. ' Pulchritudinem dicebat 
(Aristoteles) quavis epistola efficaciorem ad commendationem. Sunt 
qui hoc asscribant Diogeni.' Erasmus, Apophthegmata, lib. vii. ' For 
mosa facies muta commendatio est.' Publius Syrus, Fragmenta. Bacon 
gives the saying much as in the text, in his own list of Apophthegms. 
' Queen Isabell of Spain used to say : Whosoever hath a good pres 
ence and a good fashion, carries (continual) letters of recommenda 
tion.' Works, vii. 139. 

P. 349, 1. 12. Salomon saitH\ Eccles. xi. 4. Conf. 'There is no 
greater impediment of action than an over-curious observance of 
decency, and the guide of decency which is time and season. For as 
Salomon sayeth, Qui respicit ad ventos non seminat : et qui respicit ad 
mtbes, non metet: a man must make his opportunity as oft as find 
it. To conclude: Behaviour seemeth to me as a garment of the 
mind, and to have the conditions of a garment. For it ought to be 
made in fashion : it ought not to be too curious . . . and above all 
it ought not to be too strait or restrained for exercise or motion.' 
Works, iii. 447. 


PRAISE is the reflection of virtue ; but it is as the glass 
or body which giveth the reflection. If it be from the 
common people, it is commonly false and naught, and 
rather followeth vain persons* than virtuous: for the 
common people understand not many excellent virtues: 
the lowest virtues draw praise from them, the middle 

a vain persons] i. e. persons pos- virtutibus similes, of which Bacon 
sessed only of the shows and species presently speaks. 


virtues work in them astonishment or admiration ; but of 
the highest virtues they have no sense or perceiving at 
all ; but shows and species virtutibus similes serve best with 
them. Certainly, fame is like a river, that beareth up 
things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and 
solid ; but if persons of quality and judgment concur, then 
it is (as the Scripture saith), Nomen bonum instar unguenti 
fragrantis; it filleth all round about, and will not easily 
away; for the odours of ointments are more durable than 
those of flowers. There be so many false points of praise 10 
that a man may justly hold it a suspect. Some praises 
proceed merely of flattery; and if he be an ordinary 
flatterer, he will have certain common attributes which 
may serve every man ; if he be a cunning flatterer, he will 
follow the arch-flatterer which is a man's self, and wherein 
a man thinketh best of himself, therein the flatterer will 
uphold him most : but if he be an impudent flatterer, look 
wherein a man is conscious to himself that he is most de 
fective, and is most out of countenance in himself, that will 
the flatterer entitle him to perforce, spreta conscientid. Some 20 
praises come of good wishes and respects, which is a form 
due in civility to kings and great persons, laudando prae- 
cipere; when by telling men what they are, they represent 
to them what they should be ; some men are praised ma 
liciously to their hurt, thereby to stir envy and jealousy 
towards them ; Pessimum genus inimicorum laudantium; 
insomuch as it was a proverb amongst the Grecians that 
he that was praised to his hurt should have a push b rise upon 
his nose; as we say that a blister will rise upon one's tongue 
that tells a lie. Certainly moderate praise, used with op- 30 
portunity and not vulgar , is that which doth the good. 

b a push] i. e. a pustule. Lat. pus- c not vulgar] The exact sense of 

tulam. In Barrough's Method of this is shewn clearly in the corre- 

Physick, bk. v, this unlovely word spending passage in the ed. of 1612 

occurs some scores of times in the ' not vulgar, but appropriate.' Works 

sense here given to it. vi. 582. 


Salomon saith, He that praiseth his friend aloud, rising 
early, it shall be to him no better than a curse. Too much 
magnifying of man or matter doth irritate contradiction 
and procure envy and scorn. To praise a man's self can 
not be decent, except it be in rare cases; but to praise 
a man's office or profession, he may do it with good grace, 
and with a kind of magnanimity. The cardinals of Rome, 
which are theologues and friars and schoolmen, have 
a phrase of notable contempt and scorn towards civil 
to business ; for they call all temporal business of wars, 
embassages, judicature, and other employments, sbirrerie, 
which is under-sheriffries, as if they were but matters for 
under-sheriffs and catchpoles ; though many times those 
under-sheriffries do more good than their high specula 
tions. St. Paul, when he boasts of himself, he doth oft 
interlace / speak like a fool; but speaking of his calling he 
saith, Magnificabo apostolatum meum. 


P. 351, 1. 4. fame is like a river} This is a favourite argument, 
or simile used as an argument, with Bacon. He employs it to explain 
how it is that the philosophical writings of the early Greek schools 
have been lost, while the later, and in his opinion the less valuable 
ones, have come down to us ' tempore, ut fluvio, leviora et magis 
inflata ad nos devehente, graviora et solida mergente.' Nov. Org. 
bk. i. 71. He presently repeats it in the 77th Axiom : ' Philosophiae 
Aristotelis et Platonis, tanquam tabulae ex materia leviore et minus 
solida, per fluctus temporis servatae sunt.' Conf. also Works, iii. 
292 and 503, and i. 460. 

1. 7. the Scripture} This should be : ' Melius est nomen bonum 
quam unguenta preciosa.' Eccl. vii. 2 in the Vulgate ; verse i in the 
Authorized Version. This part of the Essay seems intended to take 
up and enlarge upon the opening words of the Dedication. 

1. 13. certain common attributes] So, in Essay 57, we find the 
nothingness of communia mahdicta contrasted with the extreme 
bitterness of words aculeate and proper. 

1. 17. if he be an impudent flatterer} Conf. e.g. Bacon's praise 
of his Majesty's manner of speech as 'indeed prince-like, flowing 
as from a fountain, full of facility and felicity, imitating none and 


inimitable by any.' Works, iii. 262, and again Letters and Life, 
vii. 172, and contrast this with the description (in Green's Hist, of 
English People, bk. vii. cap. 3) of James' gabble and rhodomontade, 
his slobbering tongue, his want of personal dignity, &c., &c. Macaulay 
adds his provincial Scotch accent : ' the full dialect of his country,* 
as Bacon himself terms it in a letter to the Earl of Northumberland. 
Letters and Life, iii. 77. Conf. also in the Epistle Dedicatory to the 
Essays (1625) addressed to the Duke of Buckingham : ' A good name 
is as a precious ointment, and I assure myself such will your Grace's 
name be with posterity.' Of mere cunning flattery, such as e.g. 
Bacon's admiring language about James as the modern Solomon, the 
instances are too frequent to need special reference. 

1. 22. laudando praecipere] The reference is to the younger 
Pliny ; his words are : ' Officium consulatus injunxit mihi ut rei 
publicae nomine principi gratias agerem. Quod ego in senatu cum 
ad rationem et loci et temporis ex more fecissem, bono civi con- 
venientissimum credidi eadem ilia spatiosius et uberius volumine 
amplecti ; primum, ut imperatori nostro virtutes suae veris laudibus 
commendarentur ; deinde, ut futuri principes non quasi a magistro, 
sed tamen sub exemplo praemonerentur qua potissimum via possent 
ad eandem gloriam niti. Nam praecipere qualis esse debeat princeps 
pulchrum quidem, sed onerosum ac prope superbum est ; laudare 
vero optimum principem ac per hoc posteris velut e specula lumen 
quod sequantur ostendere idem utilitatis habet, adrogantiae nihil.' 
Epist. iii. 18. But there are some distinctions worth notice between 
this praise and such as Bacon was in the habit of lavishing. It was in 
the discharge of an official duty that it was bestowed. It was not re 
sorted to as a means of gaining favour or place or money. Pliny 
expressly says that he refrained from it until his position was ab 
solutely secure : ' Designatus ego consul omni hac etsi non adulatione 
specie tamen adulationis abstinui.' Epist. vi. 27. Finally, it was 
bestowed not on James or Buckingham or on any one at all re 
sembling them, but on Trajan ; and it was bestowed by one who had 
given early and ample proof that he dared to blame and oppose the 
most powerful personages in the state, and whose praise therefore 
had good warrant that it was genuine. 

1. 26. Pessimum genus &c.] This should be : ' Pessimum inimi- 
corum genus, laudantes.' Tacitus, Agric. 41. 

1. 28. he that was praised to his hurt Sec.} The belief was not 
that the person praised had a push rise upon his nose, but that the 
person praising so suffered, if he bestowed praise untruly. Vide 

Theoc. xii. 23, 24 : ryo> 8e ere TOV Ka\ov alvtaiv ^tiidea pivos vnepdev apaifjs 

owe di/a<uo-6>, i.e. By praising thee, the beautiful, I shall not raise 
pimples (\lrev8fa) on my slender nose (or on the point or end of 
my nose), such pimples being the punishment of the liar, not of the 

A a 


person falsely praised. A scholium on the passage has : ^evSta, ra 

fls TO axpov rfjs pivos (pvofieva ^vdpaKia, e &>i> TOVS ^/(v8o\6yovs reKfj-aipovrat. 
Conf. also Theoc. ix. 30 : fii7 Kfv erri yXtbcro-a? aKpas oXoc^uyyowz <utra> (by 

committing a fraud). I am indebted to Professor Jebb for the 
substance of this note. 

P. 352, 1. i. Salomon saith} Prov. xxvii. 14. Quoted and greatly 
amplified in the De Aug. Scient. Works, i. 768. 

1. ii. sbirrerie\ The Latin prefixes Hispanico vocabulo to this 
word. It is, of course, not Spanish, but formed from the Italian 
sbirro, a constable. It is not the only instance of a curious confusion 
of Spanish and Italian ; ' Mi venga la muerte de Spagna,' occurs in 
Essay 25 : and it deserves notice, since there is reason to believe that 
the Latin version of this Essay was done under Bacon's own super 
vision. The English, it will be observed, in all this part, has a note 
of scorn which the Latin does not repeat. Matters for under-sheriffs 
and catchpoles becomes munera lictorum et scribarum. That many 
times these under-sheriffries do more good than the high speculations 
of the cardinals is softened down into : Et tamen, si res rite ponderetur, 
speculativa cum civilibus